James Keane


yet your back was barely moving
an evening shadow softening
your rabbits, darkening
joy bounding, gnashing
trapping the night
all around you. A mouth

unwrapping one
smaller than my own
crept in among them. Loosened all
breathing tensed
to squeeze your moist breasts, your hips
gently sweating. Your body
caresses my lips

in silent morning.

the dawn in one gray room uncovered
what's left of you. Silenced
white, in cold air
hovering, shriveled
our only space. Untrapped
one leg to seize and caress
your sandy thigh, your
warm waist until
the white-flannel tribe
of toothy rabbits relaxed
their gleeful vigil
and we all joined together
to awaken your face.

But in the sunny end,
a sleepy smile
yawning to melt all over
a frozen space no longer
my own, shrivels all
lips, all hands. Your face

is a body barely able
to hover, clutching
still the distant mouth
unbidden of a strange, barely
touching lover. Loosened

in joy never
over rabbits


Killing a Frog

Killing a frog
is easier than you think,
especially a baby one that can't hop
and doesn't blink,

picking gently among the wetted rocks

not to swim
to drink, perhaps to play
within the confines of a shallow brook,
with curiosity but nothing like fear

A stone thrown here,
a stone thrown there
and still the baby one doesn't jump,
doesn’t scare,
though he does stare ahead (in growing dread?) until

Finally a direct hit shatters his head.

No scaring needed now,
no caring no how,
j ust staring into emptiness as
the baby one dies,
is dead.

Another hit, and now his baby brain lies,
a pale green wafer, on the stone terrain.

I was there. I wanted to be.
I was not the only one.

But all I did was watch the killing done, though
I may have thrown a tiny little pebble, just one

but I know I never hit him, I didn't, I swear
(as if anything killed would care)

If anyone older had happened upon us then,
they wouldn't have approved, but
they wouldn't have made a fuss; or maybe, to sound
serious, just a bit of
grown-up noise

for, after all,
we were only
being boys.

The thing is,
of distance, age and time,
none for long has been my friend,
none has passed over the memory of this crime
to away and gone
to a merciful end. Never

ever for the unwitting stranger
to mercy,
to danger, to courage,
to caring, who couldn’t stop
a simple horror, but won't
stop staring

at the baby one
trying no longer to be a frog,
at the unfeeling fingers of
growing children, though

graced with the empty love
of Almighty God,
in Whom all blessings, brooks

and dead frogs flow.

James Keane lives in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. Although he has made his living in magazine publishing, public relations and advertising (including 15 years in New York City), Keane has been writing and rewriting his poetry since his days at Georgetown University, where he earned a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in English Literature. Keane is looking forward to being published in November in the online and print versions of Fresh!Literary Magazine and on the online site, Autumn Leaves, also in November. His poem "Seascape" was featured in Issue No. 72 of the Poetry Newsletter of the online UK site, All Info About Poetry.


HomeFictionPoetry Non-FictionContributor Bios

© 2003 Plum Ruby Review. All rights reserved.