If I Were You

by Michael Jewell

I would listen to the mice in the walls
and see my own face gleaming
back at me with a mysterious smile.
I would try to remain busy,
ignoring my worst fears

when the rain continued to fall, turning
to sleet by morning. If I were you
I would talk to the air and listen
to the pigeons purring like cats,
though I would find myself
returning again and again

to the center of this trembling flesh
where there are no gray birds
and the rivers are too deep to cross.
Disguised as an alcoholic
Vietnam veteran,

I would appear on the streets of Troy,
New York, shambling through the slush
in a red-flannel coat and a pair of winter
snow pants. Slurring my words,
I would pass in front
of stopped cars

and lean into the wind as I climbed
aboard the bus. I would say, “My wife’s
in the hospital and they don’t
know what it is,” while the woman
in the adjoining seat

shifted uneasily away from me, because
I had just come from the side
of the bed where my wife lay prone
and her dinner was given to her
through a tube.

I would remember the sound of the seagull’s
cry, or the color of the lilac’s bloom,
and when I took my phone off the hook
would dial numbers at random,
listening for any indication
of warmth.


Headshot_Author_Poetry_MJewell 20141124

Michael David Jewell is a poet, painter, and novelist living in Calais, Vermont. He’s had two chapbooks, The Power of Wind and World Without Edge, published by Wood Thrush Books, a small independent press in Northern Vermont specializing in nature writing. He earned his MA in English in the mid-eighties at Syracuse University, and has exhibited art regionally. He is currently working on a series of young adult novels set in New England.

2 thoughts on “If I Were You

  1. Brenda Jewell says:

    I just looked out through a window intoTroy, New York. I saw a moment in a life, just one vibrant moment… Thank you for edifying, beautifully.


  2. Brenda Jewell says:

    Once again your lyrical style touches the heart. You express insight into authentic stories of the soul. Thanks for your verses.


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