I only do this because I have to. There’s no one else|
who can. Eleven swans wheel overhead, bright wings
flashing as feathers catch the sun. I piece together
blisters swell up, fat as bread dough. I do not fly
pliable. The salt burns. The birds scud down around me,
tell which brother is which, they look the same
sob and sob and not make a sound around the stone
the swans preen; beaks curl down to polish sides as white
I still remember love, rough hugs, the endless clatter of boots
gusts shut; the great birds fling up into the sky, a flurry
to be there — I’d flee the wind down if I could, screaming
“I wrote this poem because I wanted to know what she’d say if she could speak, this good girl, this responsible sister.”
for J, after two miscarriages
What genie do you go to, where
who will live? You would take anything—
head; a girl with snaking hair, perhaps
behind you. Where is the witch
fight through thickets to towers, rise
wants appeasing? The third time’s
the charm, and bad things come
you can’t quicken. No one can spell you. But
your feet; still set on besting that cobbled arc.
Jennifer Jerome is a native New Yorker. Her work has appeared or isforthcoming in various publications, including The Pedestal Magazine, ChiZine, The Comstock Review, Pebble Lake Review, Goblin Fruit, and Astropoetica. For more about her work, cast your ‘net here.
This poem grew out of pain and desire. It was inspired by how they feed—and feed on—the choices we make, and by how we manage to keep moving.