The Islands Visible Only on Clear Days, BY KASEY JUEDS
But not in the weeks of falling, of unswerving
streets scumbled by rain. Of plums
stunned from trees, damp and tender
on sidewalks, those islands fog-shuttered
just off the bridge. And the people
who jumped from it, who keep
jumping, despite barriers, the signs
reading please. When that animal
quickened herself from roadside mist,
you knew bobcat sure as any brightness
vanishing, taillights like rubies
swallowed by the next hill’s
crest. Most who jump
choose the bay side, not
the one that faces the sea.
Even then wanting a glimpse
of windows, or that other
distant bridge — human things
to tether to. Some who lived
say they changed their minds
partway down. Which must mean
that some who died did too.
Fishing, pelicans hurl their softness
against the water’s adamant edge; rain
rewrites the grasses into green. In one
self-portrait, Frida Kahlo painted
herself twice. Inside the museum,
closed now for the night, she
keeps on holding her own hand.
Kasey Jueds is the author of two collections of poetry, both from the University of Pittsburgh Press: Keeper, which won the 2012 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and The Thicket, forthcoming in 2021. Her work can be found in journals including American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Narrative, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ninth Letter, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, and Pleiades. She lives in the mountains of New York State with one human, a spotted dog, and many houseplants.