May 19, 1994
As if I were opening a jewelry box
to find stones priced for my life,
the jangle of blood from split arteries
the clatter of newsmen
a rasping sound
barbarous times falling into gibberish
jealousy that left its mind behind
the jeopardy of infidelity
lurch, twist, twitch
who is this court jester Oswald
and where is his cabal
the jet set left on a jet plane
her pink suit so much jetsam
Jackie—Love’s hobo now

The TV a pipeline to grief.
We went out into the streets
huddled at corners of the assassination
as if it happened here on this block.
Nasal voice floating endlessly
over the blood-spattered leaves of fall
saying over and over:
Ask not what your country can do for you—
ask what you can do for your country.

Game contestants couldn’t provide the answer
the rubber pointers frozen. We were left
to figure out the prize.

A small son in dress coat standing by
his mother’s side salutes
the cortège, the riderless horse.
On the boulevards remaining leaves
like gloved hands wave farewell.
The parade died out of sight.
Jackie in black veil,
the mystical Mona Lisa, couldn’t lead us
and her small son grew up to drown.

Jackie was born on July 28, 1929

Published Whistling Girls and Crackling Hens, Sandra Larson, Pudding House Chapbook Series, 2003