» Poetry

Two Poems

To My Caring and Worried Mother

There are sliced carrots in the shape of a cowbell,
because I understand
that great food should sing to you.


There’s a movie we’ve never seen before
and a Japanese instruction manual.


There’s a novel about Alzheimer’s
and some magic memory pills for your mother.
There’s an automatic food dispenser
so you don’t have to bend down to feed the dogs anymore.


There’s a travel bag with a Bible
and a plane ticket to Paris.


There’s a color-coded flow chart
describing the best way to carry a conversation with Grandma.
In the bottom right hand corner, in fine print, it explains
you may have to adopt new tactics on the fly.


I caught Grandma watching
The Hulk in Spanish today.
I just flipped to the English version.


To my caring and worried mother:
raising your voice won’t help,
there is no cure.


All the Post-It notes
on all the cabinets
should say: open with caution,
eat with intensity,
we love you
and we’ll help you
find the watch
you stuffed in the cookie jar.



The horse
nuzzles the back of my hand
as if the damp home of its nose
could stand not one more dark
second of this unfettered freeze.


What of it,
she asks after we’ve had our hot
meat and stale versions of drug,
sitting in lotus pose
facing my grandfather’s headstone
where every engraved sentence
curved tinsel of truth
into the steaming mouth of myth.


This barrel-bellied man
made a small southern town
seem like a place God had visited
and forgot to bless.
He was that damn bold,
that unforgettable.


Jalen Eutsey

Jalen Eutsey earned a BA in English from the University of Miami and an MFA in Poetry from Johns Hopkins University. While in graduate school, he taught creative writing to high school and middle school students as part of the Writers in Baltimore Schools program. He was most recently an adjunct professor of creative writing at Hopkins and a Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Urban Arts Leadership Fellow. His poetry has been published in Mr. Ma’am, Into the Void, Northern Virginia Review, and The Rush.

Author photo by David Andrews.