Volume 2 Number 1 • Spring 2010

Jenny McDougal

Key West Conjure: a footnote

"This ancient thing in plastic,
plucked from the dirt and given the means to heal."

"Root Juice" S.G. Frazier

The night smelled like fish fry and jasmine, heavy in the air.

We talked about cummings and Keats, meter, and how he builds boats on the scalloped edge of the island.

Our conversation was quiet in between bottles of sweating beer and a sticky

blunt. He held my hand, thumb sweeping up and over. I was so high - skin fuzzy tongue stuck -

while the Gulf lapped at us. I told him about the hard frost of winter waiting for me, and a sometimes-boyfriend

who drinks cheap whiskey and reads O'Connor; how he's built like a linebacker, who fumbles most times in bed, a boy still and hurtful.

Off the shore towards Havana, a fish jumped and we lay down on the sand, palmettos rustling.

Sour mouth and wet lips, I wanted this forever, here at the edge of the world,

air tipped with jasmine and bougainvillea, salt-worn skin, his mouth, the hard plane of his chest, the cup

of his hands, the sky above me, the soft curve of land below me: the only things holding me together.

After, we lay in the sand, winter moon like a nickel in the sky, small sighs against bare shoulders he traced my tattoos,

measuring the distance between pale skin and deep green until my name came over the shirring water, and I was called back home.

Jenny McDougal, an MFA candidate at Hamline University, lives and works in St. Paul, MN. Her poems have appeared in Sleet, Ariston, Jambalaya, and the St. Paul Almanac. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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