by James R. Whitley
A plausible theory
is one that points to a possible end to a quandary,
one that sticks to the ribs like
homemade meatloaf and real mashed potatoes.
For the past several months,
some loser down the street has been
butchering the old Strayhorn classic,
caterwauling every night,
Life is lonely again and only last year
everything seemed so sure.
Or maybe it was just the glum baritone
scatting nonsense in my head.
Or the sound of the merciful rodents in my hall closet
chewing through the dog-eared stack of
unsent love letters.
And speaking more objectively now:
there comes a point when you realize that,
no matter how long or torturous,
no road is your enemy.
(And the moon does not glower down.)
(And the wind does not wail.)
On my outdated, but trustworthy, television set,
the game show contestant voices his selection to the host,
I’ll take “Things You Shouldn’t Do While God Is Watching”
for a thousand, Alex.
Finally, I thought,
a category I know something about.
Bio: James R. Whitley's work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including 42Opus, Barrelhouse, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, FRiGG, Mississippi Review, Pebble Lake Review, Poetry Southeast, Stimulus Respond, The Houston Literary Review, and The Raintown Review. His first book Immersion won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. His second collection ,This Is the Red Door won the Ironweed Press Poetry Prize and will be published in 2007. He is also the author of two poetry chapbooks: Pietà and The Golden Web.