Poetry by Jessica Daly | (Honorable Mention, 2008)

Two Kinds of Thirst

In the dark of her kitchen,
watery blue eyes hugely
magnified by coke-bottle glasses,,
she rolls cigarettes one-handed,

Thinly, incessantly. The floor slants,
socks & t-shirts are heaped
among plates & forks because the washer
stands next to the sink. Her voice

is like wet earth,
it clumps as she tells a neighbor
how many kids take Ecstasy now,
how it makes them so thirsty

that club owners in Dublin shut off
the faucets, force the kids to buy fancy
bottled drinks. A boy died-
he dehydrated from the pills

& the dancing, but had no money
for water. Her youngest daughter
rolls joints for a living in Amsterdam,
the oldest has a lover who beats her.

Her own husband rises before the pale snapping
of sun over hillsides, feeds the chickens,
wanders for miles in heavy rubber boots.
She combs her thin hair slowly,

cooks eggs and strips of beef, re-reads
old magazines. She thinks about her daughters,
about an abortion in London thirty years ago.
Once in a while she looks beneath

the silver bracelet on her wrist
lets herself gaze
at the simple greened tattoo
of another manʼs name.

Jessica Daly studied English at the University of Pittsburgh and is currently a English teacher at a public high school in Philadelphia. She received The CommonLine Project's honorable mention for poetry in 2008.