ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Two Poems by Jesse Back


we lay on the bed for a couple hours
she was wearing a red and yellow flower dress
with no bra
her breasts kept slipping over the top
they looked very good.

she cried for two hours then stopped
i said something
she started crying all over again
it was all very civil and loving
no harsh words
just the bare facts
laid out bitter sweetly all over the house.

she looked so pretty after crying
her face puffed up and looked so sweet
i kissed her forehead a few times
her cheeks
her lips
her eyes
wiping away her tears
i hugged her close and put her head on my chest
telling her to calm down it will be alright
‘You’re young’
she burst into tears.

she left for work
we touched for the last time
a gentle, short hug at the door
then she was gone
head down hair up.

i stood at the door for a moment
then grabbed a glass
put 4 ice cubes in it
emptying the tray
so I filled it up with water and put it back in the freezer
i went to the cupboard
grabbed a fifth of old grand-dad
poured 4 fingers worth
and sat down

waiting for the rest to happen.



in the motel
sipping on Johnnie Walker and ice
with a side of beer
watching her perfect herself
walking around the room
looking at herself in the mirror
constantly tugging at her dress
to iron out all the invisible wrinkles

how do i look
she asks

you look good
i lay back
thinking about death, life

she fixes her hair
perfumes her wrists
her neck
and sips her cheap champagne.

we celebrate her divorce
by going to a casino
and blowing a hundred bucks apiece.

im almost done
she says
i call the taxi

on the ride there
the driver explains
his sure fire way to make thousands
showing us pictures
of black and orange chips in black hands.

should we play that game
she asks
trotting beside me in her short dress and high heels

let's just play the slots

she smiles and kisses me on the cheek
and we walk in at 2am saturday night
to a room filled with skeletons
and the sound of coins filling a coffer.


Jesse Back grew up in a small farm in a small-town in southeastern Ohio : a couple of quarter horses and a red barn on top of the hill. He received a Bachelor’s degree and now is back to that small farm and dating a brunette mother of three.
This is his first appearance in Offcourse.

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