Christine Jackson teaches literature and creative writing at a South Florida university. That is, she is supposed to teach, but she probably learns more from her students than they do from her. She plays the piano and acoustic guitar. She also presents creative writing workshops to local writing communities.
Two People Under a Green Umbrella
As they cross the railroad track
In the winter rain,
He holds her hand aloft
While she grips a torn green umbrella,
They rush past the fast food wrappers
Pressed flat against the chain link fence.
They step across the parking lot
Of the 7-11,
Struggling toward warmth and light,
On the way to commit armed robbery,
Bare heads bowed against a cold wind.
A glance stirs the fragile violet
Into lilac circles;
A shiver dances
Along the clover warm from the noon sun.
A whisper sends gulls
Inland from the sea,
Wheeling toward perches
Along a grassy river.
A touch bends
Two willow hands of a palm
Into the green heart
Of fervent prayer.
You glance in the wrong direction
Whisper over your shoulder at our party
Touch her hand when passing a drink,
Nudging the rotation of a spiral storm.
A caress lifts the spiral
toward a perfect kiss
With heaven’s blue harmony
Above a shuttered, shuddering earth.
Heart of Palm
When we moved into this house,
We hired landscapers to plant
A row of areca palms in the yard
Then had a housewarming party.
That was two decades ago.
Embedded into one woodsy shaft
Sits a beer bottle of green glass
Inert against the wooden stalk.
One of our party guests,
Polished off a beer
And smoked a joint
Near the back fence.
Most days, we are green glass,
Trapped in a cage of cut bamboo
Watched by armed guerillas.
Like the bottle, we wait,
Green glass shaded from the sun,
Label buried into the palm,
Facing the dark side of the moon.
Behind Joe’s Smoke Shop
The fat mobsters thaw in the winter sun.
Thighs spread, they sit in a circle
Around the asphalt’s single patch of sunlight,
Munching provolone sandwiches.
The young guy out on probation
who lives in his car,
Opens the hood and slams it,
Opens the trunk,
Rearranges his furniture,
And slams it,
Then finds his place for lunch
Around the patch-of-sunlight campfire.