This poem first found a home in the “Clear” issue of 5×5 Lit Mag (2010, no archive available).
Slight edits were requested, to which I agreed. The published version is shown here.
My Body is an Uncapped Mason Jar
First appeared in 5×5 Lit Mag (2010)
The clear liquid and light of me
is visible to you.
Color presses along my seam,
and I split myself like spectra.
I lift myself, thirsty, to the sun —
my heart, the glint along the edge,
questions the window of my skin.
The distance of my years is soft, unmolded,
like the verbs and pronouns
that spill me into the slow,
free-fall globes of good-bye,
until I am dropping without landing,
and there is light refracting everywhere —
shards of it, and waves —
a vertigo of curvature.
Every glass holds the thought of its own breaking
in its slow and heatmelt atoms,
more fragile than knowing,
and translucent like a warm breath.
This was first published as the winning poem in the 2010 Shine Journal Poetry Contest. Winning this contest also secured me a Pushcart nomination that year, for which I’m eternally grateful and will continue to brag about as long as possible.
Because the Shine Journal website was minimally functional last time I checked, I include the poem here for archival purposes:
Breathe: Agent Orange
Winner of The Shine Journal 2010 Poetry Contest plus Pushcart nomination
What you see is not him.
Soon he’ll be born,
hungry like new insects
and full of tangent youth.
His eyes that are not eyes
but spunsilk pockets
deeper than truth,
carry you in them
They are wondrous and dark,
warmer than his lungs,
which are chipped and stripped
and crumbling, two broken promises—
fiberless and musty,
like logs that unfurl
the dirt-thirsty gills of mushrooms
from their flanks.
As a child, I sought cicada-husks
on pine trees in the park,
the split back and empty legs a mystery
more perfect than a deep breath.
The body’s misunderstandings
are so weighty,
to leave behind a thing