Jacqueline Jackson presents
when your heart is sore and
it is hard to swallow try
standing at night beneath a
linden tree in full bloom
you need enough breeze to
envelop your body with
the tree’s perfume shut your
eyes be very still take
deep breaths it will help
for the moment
© Jacqueline Jackson 2006
In Belvidere, when you saw a fire truck, you knew that a train was coming. In the big days of the Chrysler plant, before all of the layoffs, those trains would rumble by for an hour or more at a time, separating half of the town from the firehouse. Before each train, the factory would notify the fire department, and half of the firefighters would climb onto one of the station’s two trucks. They would drive it to the firehouse-less side of the tracks.
The heart of a small town is shared knowledge, a common history creating obvious conclusions that aren’t so obvious in the larger world. In his poem “Important Porter,” Sam B. Davis gives just that flavor of small-town language and lore. — Carol Manley, guest editor
Jim Porter’s the daily drugstore special
on the lunchtime menu. It’s a title
earned in 40 years of faithful service
as Pulaski’s main downtown pharmacist.
Out of humble habit Porter ordered
lunch from their counter and never wavered
with his request to eat the same item,
despite the ribbing friends had given him.
Now, enshrined by bright curds and mayonnaise,
Jim is forever memorialized,
laid to rest on lettuce and thin Wonder
slices, for any stranger to ponder
if asking for Jim Porter: They’ll be led
to pimiento cheese spread on soft white bread.
Sam B. Davis is a local poet, radio host and graphic designer. He’s known for his support of local poets and poetry groups, having done design work on numerous chapbooks. He has done editing and design work on several issues of the UIS literary journal, The Alchemist Review.
Send submissions to Jacqueline Jackson
Presents People’s Poetry to firstname.lastname@example.org or to
P.O. Box 5256
Springfield, IL 62705