Jeanne Marie Beaumont


I wanted to be one of the bells sewn to the jacket
that hung in the closet of the apprentice pickpocket
so he could practice his stealth of hand, his fingering
of the pull, his touch that would never be felt.
I wanted to live quietly and in darkness but serving
some purpose. Part of the time I wanted that, part
of the time I wanted to be the bell that rings out
at the end of Metropolis, the heroine dangling
from the thick rope pulling to save her green life.
The man across from me at dinner spoke of
the inverse bell curve that’s the current state
of money, politics, and numerous other things,
so we have no more maximized middle, no
middle ground, no middle class—You cannot
ring a bell like that I said and heads nodded.
I hung my bell in the shrine I constructed
for my cat, formed out of book-board and book
linen with a double door and a star-decked ceiling
for I wanted to keep company with the tiny tin
of her ashes so light barely a demitasse as she was light
to me and on her feet and about the house
as the poet said a poem is about its subject.

Jeanne Marie Beaumont

is the author of Burning of the Three Fires (BOA Editions, 2010), Curious Conduct (BOA Editions, 2004), Placebo Effects (Norton, 1997), and the forthcoming Letters from Limbo (CavanKerry Press, 2016). She teaches in the Stonecoast low-residency MFA program and at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y. She lives in Manhattan.