Fall 2018, Volume 24

Poetry by Jiordan Castle

The MetroCard Machine Asks Whether I Want to Add Value or Time

a question I don’t know how to answer
when I’m already late, waxing optimistic
about my father’s weekly meetings.

Hell is the visiting room and its cheap piano,
its dime-store books,
its dime-thin adolescent girls, an old woman
who berates a grown son for visiting,

and my father, still drugged,
with the pebbled skin of someone
washed up on land.

I have seen his wife hold his face
in her hands, eyes closed,
moving her mouth without sound,
praying to a god I’d let go.

I’ve been praying to ghosts
because they seem more likely to listen,
all air and exorcism.

I’ve believed in wilder things,
like palm readers, trains that run on time,
a heaven I can touch:

my dog on the couch,
his warm body crushed against mine —
after the cops, after the quiet, softly snoring
to break up the silence.

 

 

 

BIO: Jiordan Castle is a writer living in New York City with a pug named Hacksaw. Her work has appeared in Bitterzoet Magazine, Compound Butter, Palaver, Potluck Mag, Brain Mill Press, Tell Us a Story, First Class Lit, and elsewhere online and in print. She has a BA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and will graduate with an MFA in poetry from Hunter College in 2019.