• Jennefer Cole

Two poems


Spring Cleaning

Clearing out a cupboard reveals teeth

in a box like sacred relics, old baby

bones, broken and cracked

with age. Hoary wives whisper Bury

them in the garden… and so what

will grow? The time has passed,

since your toothy 3-year-old smile

at a streetlight answered my request

to feel soft flesh, warm and pliable

to touch, a hand I made from scratch,

in my own. Your No a shock, stopped

me dead in my tracks. Why? Because,

you insisted. You had already enclosed

something else in empty fists & moved on,

exposing a world in your mind with no door

for me to wander through, have a look,

sit for a while, ponder my place. Baby

teeth fill my palm - a past part of you

like a missing link - the gaps, now straightened

caries, wisdom extracted fourfold. They leave

me queasy yet captivated by the vastness

of those minute vacant spaces.

Salt on Wounds

The summer of ’76 must have been

exceptionally wet. The alleyway off

the side of the house was an ecological

niche - a fructifying place for slugs to grow.

A place where a seven-year-old self

could learn the many uses of salt.

They mounted wooden walls, scooted

slowly across sidewalks until I stood

over them, spouted carton in hand, a twin

Morton’s ad girl, only with intent to pour.

My sadistic reign surprised me then

and now. I watched them wiggle and worm,

listened to the hissing sound of water

escaping for a renewed outer balance

without batting an eye or moving

away till little more than lifeless stains

were left on the path. Like Tommy who

would pin me down beneath his morphing

muscles, while protruding members looked

for places to hide. I wonder if he too thought

osmosis would occur in that first search

for something to help him grow, his wet tongue

rooting around my mouth – that open gash

that never really healed, despite the salt.

Born and raised on the Eastern Shore, Jennefer Cole currently lives and works in Paris, France with her husband and three daughters. Poetry allows her to untangle the worlds she lives in: woman, wife, mother, daughter, in between countries and voices.


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