“God Knows I Want to Be Good” by Jackleen Holton

Jackleen Holton


That’s why last year I went out with Michael
who drove a white Prius
and wore beige vegetarian shoes. And when
we’d meet at a tofu bistro the same distance
from both of our houses, we’d go dutch because
we knew the importance of sexual equality. We had good
conversations, talked about dwindling
rainforests and fragile ecosystems. We liked
the same movies and poems.
God knows I want to be good, so I tried
to ignore that boorish guy Mark at the party who bragged
that he once caught a trout with his bare hands. I mean,
what an asshole, what a hairy-chest-beating
Neanderthal. So why did I let him
pull me into the bathroom, shove those
fish-snatching hands under my shirt?
The other day, a friend told me that Michael’s
engaged. I said good, good for him,
and nodded my head like a chicken. As for Mark,
it’s been a whole week since the night I groped
around on his bedroom floor in search
of my underwear. Tonight, I lie
by the window, my body still
humming like a long dial tone
in the dark.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012


Jackleen Holton: “I write poetry to make sense of things, and for those brief glimpses of the divine in the ordinary, but mostly because my childhood dream of being a lounge singer didn’t pan out.”

Rattle Logo