Three Poems by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

Nativity

Or maybe we did come from a dark suddenness.
The uncharted constellations shimmering red

with no one to to name them, the long loud echo
of nobody’s voice until abruptly: a thing
that would grow into a consciousness, which could contain you

and me, the azaleas revealing themselves
to the night, the Augusts that persist and groan on

without rain, the bark drying itself up
before us, the dead winter weeds pointing up
to nothing, the stark-bare tree whose branches curl for want.


The Way Things Are

My dreams no longer disguise themselves
as dreams.

In this one, my parents
are telling me the ways I’ve shamed them.
In this one, I am getting drunk
and spilling dirty dishes from my handbag
in front of everyone I know.

In this one, somebody I know has died; it doesn’t matter who.
I row alone to the middle of the lake
behind the house where I grew up.

The entire sky is gleaming pink
and purple, inexplicably. How did this happen? I ask,
as if an answer will come. I cry,
a little bit.

The waves sway me gently in the small boat,
a blot, the apex of the lake.


Oh No Everything

Oh no the stuff we’re made of.
The blood and warmth
that attracts parasites,

the organs that swell with sickness,
the bodies that turn
inward to eat themselves.

Oh no dark corners and the men
who wait in them.

Oh no fire, oh no damp matches.
Oh no little ears that fill
with their parents’ cusses.

Oh no the moon, grinning icy
and merciless over our dying
house plants.

Oh no the birds are leaving us now.
The leaves turning
to rot, and the boots
packing down the dead grass.

Oh no bears and sharks
and lust and anything else
that could devour us in a single second.

Oh no God.

Oh no
no God.


Profile: Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

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