The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Jessica Goodfellow – Poems

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JESSICA GOODFELLOW

 

NIGHTSCAPE WITH RANDOM INTERSECTION

Late at night a telephone booth
becomes a cage, a trap—

its overhead bulb a spotlight.
Someone has been watching me—

a pantless man. He body-slams
the folding door. Dropping

the phone, I whirl around,
push back collapsing panels.

A scramble, a scuffle,
a struggle. Then, dead-

lock—his weight pushing in
equal exactly to my fear

pushing out. The thin layer
of glass between us

shakes. The dangling phone
behind is useless—no

free
hand.

Late at night a telephone booth
is a glass elevator in free fall

to hell. I howl. The half-naked man,
purple and furious, swears.

Our bodies strain on opposite sides
of a quarter inch of brittle glass.

I press, desperate, against the door.
Leering, he matches his palm to mine,

his naked thigh—the warped reflection
of a horror house mirror.

He shudders. It shatters
my world, my translucent life.

Late at night a telephone booth
becomes a glass casket.

I bury it again and again—
but it surfaces from the muck

where I kneel, dirt-fisted,
shackled to this endless task.

Meanwhile, the pantless man
has pulled on some trousers

and walks now among you,
nodding, shaking your hands.


Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Whiteout (University of Alaska Press, 2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). She’s had work in Best New Poets, The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and Motionpoems. In 2016 she was a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preser

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