Jami Dittus | The Jason Poems

Jason’s Neighbor’s Cat Visits
Maybe this winter won’t be so bad,
I said. The yellow light in the trailer cast
against the paper printed with dark
flowers that used to belong to
a dancer named Golden
Long before I got here
it was already on the decline
But Jason and I had been getting along
Even before I opened the door
and saw the mouth of the cat
thrown back into a yowl.
God he was bigger than I thought,
this scabbed animal who
came to the door and was mad I was there
as if Jason was his and I
interrupted something.
It’s the neighbor’s, I said
after I shrieked and felt the relief.
He was known and only a little
bit of surprise for Jason, who
shook his head in approval of
the disruption, our warm night.
I was to meet the cat again
but never the neighbor; I was to pick off
ticks that fell from the pines between the homes.
Alone in my own bathtub
I grew large and cold and far
from October; I had nothing
for winter when I opened the door.

Jason Gets Buried: Part 4
When I stopped at the Holiday Inn on my way in
to see you, I stayed. Only an hour outside your town,
I could not go further. Only 32, I took to stopping
and folding like a creaky doll, swollen joints and a heart
that curled inward, didn’t tend to the ends of my limbs.
I could not go further. With such delight, I brewed free
coffee at midnight; I blasted the TV. You know nothing’s free,
right? I signed the bill for $170. Why aren’t you staying
with me? you did ask. You know why, I said. It was the dying
way we fought, life forms rooted to the bottom
of the deep sea. We weren’t getting out. The sun didn’t reach
down there. I became an eyeless maw opening to vibrations
I could not have. It turned out
you misunderstood. You pointed towards the bottle. It didn’t matter.
There was no going back to my hometown, not tonight.
Jason Enters the Dark Woods 
I had to dig him up 
in my feed. Ten years out from the
swamp where we met, Jason’s
face has turned, doesn’t look capable 
of the side grin I saw him with. 
Can a face stiffen? It’s stiffened, all right, 
it’s an unmalleable dad. It’s moving away
from the water and into the trees. 
My whole gut aches. Everyone’s gray
and I’m holding on 
to the breeze that simmered around the swamp. 
I’ll stay on vacation. I stayed up all night 
then, already in my 30s. I’m greedy. 
I eat minutes as if they were years. I keep
them close, chewing the air. I would sail back
in a minute. It’s not fair. I get the feeling Jason
doesn’t care. He hikes ahead, entering 
the forest, beating through
the webs. I’m back here screaming 
something’s wrong. Don’t go. 
He never looks back. 
I stay swallowed up. 

Jami Dittus writes poetry, fiction, and stream-of-consciousness health blogs out of Richmond, Virginia by way of New Jersey. Her current house is not haunted. She has been published in Makeout Creek magazine and on the VMFA website. She is on Twitter @robbieoctober and Instagram: jamikat.

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