Two Poems by Jeffrey Kingman

A broken wheel spun around haphazardly
before falling over and warbling to a stop.
Stillness. If you’re not around to tell
the story someone else tells it. And another
retells. I stumbled on a tiny chapel in a vacant
ruined old house. Catherine was in there
along with her wheel. The walls tiled,
milky squares, her story hand painted.
Language of blue.
If it were true my blood was milk.
If it were true the wheel broke
   from the force of the strength inside me.
Crumbled bits of ceramic have been mixed
with the dirt. Many crisscrossing roads,
two ruts, grass in between. Landscape
the same for miles. Broken tiles from
a demolition firm up the sandy soil.

If you say goodbye to a house
   the house waves back.
But she didn’t get the chance.
She was away when her folks got kicked out
   way back when.
Nostalgia is a 12-year-old thing
   7 was forever ago.
Sure, you can take a look, come in.
Yep, we got rid of the old wooden gate.
She remembered the laundry chute to the basement.
She’d wanted to drop a kitten down
   to watch it land on a puff of towels.
The whole litter escaped through a hole in the screen door.
She pointed out the window her stepdad
   sent an ashtray crashing through.
Helluva noise, I bet. Scared you?
8 years later
   Stephanie happened to rent the house across the street.
It was her dream to join the Coast Guard.
Took a test, had an interview.
But they didn’t like her tattoos. She cried about it.
Before long, she moved out. This time
   her own choice.
I don’t know if the house waved goodbye.
She probably doesn’t care about that kind of thing anymore.
Jeffrey Kingman

Jeffrey Kingman lives by the Napa River in Vallejo, California. His poetry collection, BEYOND THAT HILL I GATHER, was published by Finishing Line Press in June of 2021. His poetry chapbook, ON A ROAD, was published by Finishing Line Press in December of 2019. He is the winner of the Red Berry Editions 2015 Broadside Contest, the winner of the 2018 Eyelands Book Award (Greece) for an unpublished poetry book, a finalist in the 2018 Hillary Gravendyk Prize poetry book competition, and he received honorable mention in the 2017 Quercus Review Press Fall Poetry Book Award. He has poems published in PANK, Clackamas Literary Review, Crack the Spine, Visitant, and others. Jeff has a Master’s degree in Music Composition and has been playing drums in rock bands most of his life.

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