Three a.m.

By Jill McDonough Jill McDonough
Our cabdriver tells us how Somalia is better
than here because in Islam we execute murderers.
So, fewer murders. But isn't there civil war
there now? Aren't there a lot of murders?
Yes, but in general it's better. Not
now, but most of the time. He tells us about how
smart the system is, how it's hard to bear
false witness. We nod. We're learning a lot.
I say—once we are close to the house—I say, What
about us? Two women, married to each other.
Don't be offended, he says, gravely. But a man
with a man, a woman with a woman: it would be
a public execution. We nod. A little silence along
the Southeast Corridor. Then I say, Yeah,
I love my country. This makes him laugh; we all laugh.
We aren't offended, says Josey. We love you. Sometimes
I feel like we're proselytizing, spreading the Word of Gay.
The cab is shaking with laughter, the poor man
relieved we're not mad he sort of wants us dead.
The two of us soothing him, wanting him comfortable,
wanting him to laugh. We love our country,
we tell him. And Josey tips him. She tips him well.

Jill McDonough, "Three a.m." from Where You Live. Copyright © 2012 by Jill McDonough.  Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

Source: Where You Live (Salt Publishing, 2012)

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Poet Jill McDonough

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, Gender & Sexuality

 Jill  McDonough

Biography

Jill McDonough is the author of the full collections Habeas Corpus (2008) and Where You Live (2012) and multiple chapbooks, including Oh, James! (2012). Her editing projects include An Invitation to Poetry: A Classroom Guide for Instructors (2006), which she edited with Maggie Dietz and Robert Pinsky, and Forgotten Eyes: Poetry from Prison (2001).

The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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