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Two poems by Jennefer Cole



Photos Syntheses


Order can be found here – in an open palm,

where pieces of life take the shape of reality.


There a smile lies off center, an ear sticks out,

plaited hair is windblown. I dissect anatomies


thinking something must be wrong to see only

wrong & swipe through the past till memories


dissolve to indistinct yet salvable moments – in my palm,

where I can deal the cards. The screen’s empty white


stamp fades & I can see a falcon as it comes

into focus, a palimpsest, on a window-sill throne,


layers of soft down, spindly claws, a silky black tail,

its russet feathers rustle in the wind until my clumsy


movement turns its head, owl like, from his hawk-eyed hunt.

Our eyes meet & I wonder if he sees me or only his reflection,


if he knows how with the change of a word, I have made him

real - created a he where none was before, out of the void.



Tiny Dancers


i.


It’s bikini season again

though the one piece is

trending like in ‘91 &

summer camp initiation.


In a mall with cozy armchairs,

and colorful racks, Mom showed

me suitable ones with padded

bras for nipple-less breasts


lest any gaze be tempted. I found

mine, little corseted waist, forced

it on again at home in front of dad

for his awkward approval;


walking back and forth, in a

balancé movement, spinning

on my heel, a boxed jewelry

dancer, tiny arms raised high.



ii.


Now a tumor walks across

his throat growing limbs

that wrap around the nerves,

arms reaching out, hands

waving like goodbye,

& tiny clotted words on

my tongue leave me

no response while my mind

reels & walks away.



iii.


It’s bikini season again

that ritual peeling down


through layers to exposed

skin. I was 13, learning


to shave, balanced on

wet camp tiles other feet


had touched before, knee bent,

in a frontal attitude,


an exotic bird dancing

when my hand slipped,


nicked the ankle bone -

mingled blood to water


washing everything down

the drain except a scab, &


a tiny scar that remains

to remember, drying off


at the poolside, knee bent,

wet leg balanced out.



iv.


I took Mom back home, in part,

surreptitiously in a glass jar,

remains of her I could have pieced

together to mother myself. We

walked around the town’s walled

waterway & as dad talked about

the best way to maneuver this task,

I tipped her all out, surprising us both.

She formed a cloud under the surface;

in a slow, ash-white adagio,

& bubbles floated up

like expelled breath when she laid down

on the riverbed to rest, surprising us both.



v.


It’s bikini season again –

though this year is nothing

like we imagined last time –


& I dream of warm

pooled skin or salty air

on my tongue & you, my own


tiny dancer, are scared

though there is nothing to fear

here in this little bedded space


where you will not remember

what I say. That serpent

you seem to dream of is not real


nor the water it dances in

nor the wrist it wraps around

in a pirouette over your clenched


fist & not even this woman -

who you cannot see -

who comes in darkness to soothe.





Jennefer Cole has been published in The Broadkill Review (2018,2019), FLAR ( 2018, 2019), and Erbacce Press in 2021; and shortlisted for The Delmarva Review (2020, 2021, 2022), selected for publication by The Halcyone, 2020. She currently heads the English Department and teaches American Literature while working on her PhD in Paris, France.


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