Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994
Jacqueline Kennedy died on my birthday,
in her Manhattan apartment
with only her attorney present
and a few close friends. Stoically,
independently, behind pulled drapes;
spare and sparing, as if to erase that
traumatic, sun-bleached Zapruder
footage of her reaching out from the back
of the motorcade limo. Hanging on
display in all her grief. That awful motorcade,
grinding along for all my life and before I was born.
I watched the cable coverage from an Irish bar
while she slipped away, another
grim vigil for the global village.
The man I was with ordered us Bloody Marys,
extra spicy, double shots. We
ran a tab. And I begged her, Not
on my day, Jackie, please.
Enough already. Immortal eyes,
don’t belabor me with any more
bad luck, broken history. The horseradish
vodka stuck in my throat, the imperious
celery butted my nose. I would be leaving him soon:
overdue move not without tears and screaming.
That afternoon, we became quiet.
Copyright 2017 Justin Vicari