Introduction to Spy Narrative as Love Story


When I look in a mirror all I see is you
written across my body like the shadow of a blackbird
which is, of course, your code name. I’ve hidden my gun

in a container of ice cream that’s calling me
insistently as we waltz through a crowd and I pull a key
from inside your jacket and pull away for the dead drop.

And when all I got was two shots to the heart –
well, I knew what kind of dance this was from the beginning
because what kind of person puts themselves in harm’s way

every day, some kind of hero? Who do you think you are?
Sure, you can jump out of a plane or pass the polygraph
while singing my favorite song, the one you sing in the shower

when you think no one hears but I’ve been tracking your moves
and kept the paperwork hidden. All that’s needed now is for someone
to take your badge and call for the burn notice.

Your kiss was always so cold. I didn’t even notice the hollow
ache you left. Let’s dance. You shot me down, bang bang.
One more body from a moving train. It’s time

at last to switch allegiances, identities, change costumes and passports
before I become one more silhouette forgotten, one more asset turned
agent provocateur, blowback from missing your hard target.



Photo by Stefano Corso


About Author

Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Seattle-area author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011) which is an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist. Her poems were featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and Crab Orchard Review; she reviews books for The Rumpus. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University.

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