Jennifer Met lives in a small town in North Idaho. She is a nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology, a finalist for Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and winner of the Jovanovich Award. Recent work is published or forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Gone Lawn, Juked, Midway Journal, The Museum of Americana, Nimrod, Ninth Letter, Sleet Magazine, and Zone 3, among other journals. She currently serves as an Assistant Prose Poetry Editor for Pithead Chapel and is the author of the chapbook Gallery Withheld (Glass Poetry Press) and a microchapbook, That Which Sunlight Chases, forthcoming from Origami Poetry Project.
an owl calls
and God answers
it’s something I have
never given much thought
how could you never
slip to prayer?
the tent suddenly smaller
the clearing darker—
where is the moon?
I am afraid
to ask and you
are not and then
a strange noise—
for the flashlight
The sun fastened itself to my chest,
unhinged my shadow longer, like a snake
uncoiled by the ground’s heated greed
and leak. Water grabbed cannot be held
forever—insists on movement, on escape,
only to feed the parched land’s endless throat.
Today I leave my house for the first time
in days. I skirt a village, its unmasked face
in endless sun as acne pitted
and sterile as a moon—one that shows
every meteorite’s strike, every lack
of breeze. Listen for those quick yips
followed by a bottom wiggling,
the tiny flag of a tail waving surrender. A prairie
dog’s curious nose, cute as a button
moving, peeking its button hole.
Something sexy in this closure, an opening.
But watching the boneyard bald
I hear only my mother’s spirit-warning
of fleas jumping. Plague, though, would
have killed the labyrinth dry in days,
I reason. No fleas would be left.
Today I walk, alone with my distance.
Exponential, decimation: these are the words
we are suddenly living, on the edge.
And walking, like the homey hole I love most,
is a mere cap to panic. Underneath, a prairie dog
scurrying, eyes scintillating. But even
without him the dusky doorway could hide
a burrowing owl, a snake, or even my growing
shadow. A darkness like false water on the horizon
slipping to night, slowly stealing back what it can
from this ghost town’s ragged dirt.
WHEN I WAS A TEEN MY MOTHER NEVER SAID BUT
I always did challenge her throat with sound
and sighs. A rock in her throat—something she had
to strain to push past, her lips tangled tightly.
And they were monstrous, and they were
kept—eternally children, treats in the belly.
It hurt a little, her pain holding honey
in the body of her own tearing sound.
Though the bodies were already people: girl,
and from the knife, a boy. Ashy. Bristling.
Parent a full belly. Trade. Missing this, let go
of a smile for the monster, the miracle.
To see the girl, to judge her
always. If you can fix her,
don’t. It’s wasting your despair.
You daughter, you dare
stray beyond the term. You
fool, you daughter, you.
I do not work for you
as you are. You forced me to
the hands of this slip—
refusal—pressed to a click.
Release an open hand. Inside,
pulling the door closed behind.
Found poem created from: McGuire, Seanan. Deadlands: Boneyard. New York: TOR , 2017. Print. Part one: page 254. Part two: pages 122-124. Part three: pages 244-245.
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