Jp Valery

From The Mississippi, Full-up on Charms

You give nothing but the pilots’ hands
and the linesmen’s calls. All your want.

Your mojo hands know me,
everything you throw into, a prayed-for ending

because I don’t end.

Your cursed bands of gold, lockets
on a pulled chain, feathers and stones from your graveyards.

What might have happened If you’d just— All your want.
At least sing for me.

I am current to move, remove a crossing. You give nothing
in between. You have to destroy the hand of ill you create

with your left hand. But I get only your right hand: the burned
charms, what you wash away in baptism. The cigarettes

after the coughing won’t let up.
All the lovers’ and babies’ hair, your want for me

to counter poisoning. Or your hair, snaggled in branches.
I am full-up on what you threw away. Sing for me at least.

The streaks in letters, slipped ink,
decks of cards to stop his gambling. All your want.

I watch you eat the clay off the banks men made to protect you.
Digging with picks and spoons.

You took Memphis Minnie away. I miss her words
and the chords of her guitar: D A E D D# slide.

No one had to tell me you’d never be satisfied.
I am most full when you can’t be satisfied.


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