In Kingdom City

Weeks after the box fan flamed out,
I slept beside my car and dreamed
I drove I-40 corridors without traffic.

That was the summer I met your mother,
I say as I wash pills down with pale ale.
I watch through windows that need cleaning.
My love is at the Food Lion
spending the last of our yard sale cash.
Tonight we’ll feast like royalty
if kings ate noodle soup
with lots of bread and butter.

Each dying lawn along this street
is like a postage stamp
on shoebox letters.
The senders hint at greater needs,
yet always return to weather.
Rain is a blessing, how brown
the green grass grows.


The Disembodied Cry

Spring begins with an open window.
The spindly legs of spiders bracelet your sleeve.

Then a wave of caught winter air.
You say a prayer and hope chipped paint will last

one more year. Next-door, a baby cries
and continues all morning. Sometimes

it sounds like hunger, sometimes like spilt milk.
At first you pretend it is 1944

and you are in Warsaw in love.
But a sudden wail yanks you back.

Where is the mother, father? Maybe
it isn’t a baby at all. Listen.

The strained motor of a sump pump beneath the house
is singing. Summer birds – swallow

and wren – harmonize a song that says there is
no baby, no baby, no.
But there is.

Tomorrow you’ll open the reluctant window,
welcome the hush even if it sounds like a cry.


Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.