Jolene at 33¹

by Brian Clifton

The speaker’s pleases bloat.
A drum in the stomach’s soft pit.
A guitar strung with rain.
       The name

that spins within the sleeping leaps
from another’s mouth. The flaming
swells; the fire shrinks, the tongue
       unconsumed. Every

comparison reverses this triangle.
The hesitation stretches woman and woman
to man and woman and man.
       The deadwax

crackles a coda. The slowing hertz.
On the lip, the word to cue the end.

1Playing the Jolene 45 at 33rpm makes the vocal track seem more masculine.

Brian Clifton is the author of the chapbooks MOT and Agape (Osmanthus Press). They have work in: Pleiades, Guernica, Cincinnati Review, Salt Hill, Colorado Review, The Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other magazines. They are an avid record collector and curator of curiosities.