John Jeffire – What’s That Supposed to Mean – 4

What’s That Supposed to Mean
by John Jeffire

I don’t suppose it’s supposed
to mean anything.
Humpback carcass washed ashore
supposes nothing but chainsaws and pick-ups,
ruined gloves and blood-sogged boots left outside,
the beach needing a good hard rain.
It means dead.
It means these things happen:
Dog lapping mortal wound,
life’s waning instinct,
the affirmation of blood.
At the end of the end,
I suppose it means that as 
I grow older my poems
grow shorter,
aphasia’s blessed plague,
nothing I need to say
that can’t be said simply,
incoherently, incompletely,
the lint catcher raked,
pentimento bleeding,
powered off mid-thought,
package with no return address
abandoned on the stoop.

John Jeffire was born in Detroit.  In 2005, his novel Motown Burning was named Grand Prize Winner in the Mount Arrowsmith Novel Competition and in 2007 it won a Gold Medal for Regional Fiction in the Independent Publishing Awards.  His first book of poetry, Stone + Fist + Brick + Bone, was nominated for a Michigan Notable Book Award in 2009.  His most recent book, Shoveling Snow in a Snowstorm, a poetry chapbook, was published by the Finishing Line Press in 2016.  For more on the author and his work, visit