Angela Jackson, AMʼ95

Angela Jackson, AMʼ95, was appointed Illinois Poet Laureate in 2020. She teaches at Kennedy-King College in Chicago. (Photography by Jason Smith)

The Mother Behaves Like a Young Woman with a Lover When Nat King Cole Comes on the Box

“His song ends on the edges of her / Mona Lisa smile.”

She takes off her run-over shoes.She removes her re-run stockings.
She unzips her re-hemmed skirt.
She parts with her polyester blouse.
She lies down on the sagging couch.
Husband and children hide in the living room dark.
The television glow slides over her slip
Like moonlight.
Nat King Coleʼs glossed hair glistens like an onyx.
His voice shines in her eyes. She closes them.
His song ends on the edges of her
Mona Lisa smile.

Midnight sighs over the silence of sleeping children.
She sleeps on and on the sagging couch.
Until husband invites her to his bed,

His voice
  newly tender,
  newly televised.

Copyright © 1998 by Angela Jackson. Published 1998 by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.