No Mary in Khashuri by Jacob Reina


I remember at the end of June—when our van broke down,

In the distance, foothills peered as a prelude to the Caucasus,

The sky came sprinkling down before it blew on a baritone;


I crossed the little concrete bridge over the canal’s rushing water,

Gazed straight across the grassy field, all-lined with chamomile,

White clouds of afternoon grew gray like a grieving widow;


Like our big black van, I stalled, for a moment, under the onset of rain,

Inhaling humid air, knowing then what a fresh start can really mean,

Realizing that one’s praised navigation can’t foresee a heated engine;


There was a girl I went across the world for who really won’t return,

To the cathedral bells, accordion songs, to all the cows wandering,

To the steep green hills, pot-bellied men, to overloaded dumplings;


Knew she must still be loved, her past handled best by the better man,

Like raspy coughs of my driver-friend, his Parliament Lights in embers,

His head in hand, over ruined matches—the merry prank of raindrops.


Jacob Reina is a part-time tutor and full-time English student at Fresno State. His poems have been featured by Poet’s Choice, Allegory Ridge, Prometheus Dreaming, and Cathexis Northwest Press. He loves traveling, making friends abroad, and currently lives in West Fresno in Central California with his two children.