—poetry by Joshua Eversfield Jenkins

Alone in the NGA, my first turn was towards the metal point drawings,
inside were studies of silver bearded men, parts of horses,
the gallery was quiet, save for the whispers.
Of all the works there, it was Southall’s Head of a Woman, perfect woman.
I looked at her, she looked away,
Her eyes were strong, she was thinking of someone else.
I left her for the photography exhibition, and saw pictures in which the sun had burned lines into the film, they still looked warm.
Next, in engravings, Hercules was killing the Lion,
its mate, slowly retreated into the cave, knowing her love to be gone,
and there was also Dives, in Hell, begging for water.
Outside on a bench, at the National Mall, I read Longenbach, and watched the people living.
I bought one too many bottles of water and gave the other to a homeless man.
After that, I left to meet my friend at The Philips Collection.
We spent most of our time looking at The Luncheon of the Boating Party,
nearly everyone looked like they were having fun,
except for the proper woman, who held her hands by her face as the two men spoke to her, who knows what sorts of things they were saying.
We then had dinner at Nando’s on H Street,
I ate a whole chicken, we talked theology, whether God exists or not.

Currently, Joshua Eversfield Jenkins is earning a MA in History from George Mason University. His BA was in English.  His two major poetic influences are Suzanne Buffam and Charles Simic, in that order.