Poetry — May 19, 2014 11:38 — 0 Comments

Two Poems – Jed Myers


She, the body artist, devoted her flesh
to the stark portrayal of what we’ll do for love.
The stage and blade were set. She’d carve one fresh
long wound in her pale skin, say, thigh, above
the knee’s taut hide, then lie on her side, her head
at rest on a propped palm. The gash would first
appear linear, unreal, penned, then widen red
and sprout a rivulet at one end. We’d thirst
for glimpses into the emptiness, but it was full,
a crimson canal of bright sacrifice. She’d place
the knife down neatly, thread the needle, and pull
black twine through twin pierced edges, with no trace
of pain—no wince, nor flinch—she’d stitch herself tight,
slow, serene, then rise and walk out in the night.



The Elsewhere Inside You

You, thin woman from a sunburned country,
who cut and color your hair like straw
so you look like a wind-blown boy off a field;

you, who sit in the bar down the block
a few nights a week when your husband’s gone off
on another deal; you, fast-hearted

large-eyed long-limbed thirster for talk,
who grabbed me to dance with you once in that dive
for a minute, easy to lead; you,

bendable orphan, who laugh through your teeth
at the ungainly grace of your own wrists and fingers
kneading the air whose motes are the yeast

of your outlander speech; you, who can’t help
but dare, by your willowy lean on the man
tending his beer beside you, to seem

familiar, as if he’d known you for years—
now that it’s late, and clear, and the stars are out
over our neighbor apartment towers,

and I’ve stepped out on my deck to abide
the unknowable distances, there you are
by yourself on the sidewalk not far from your door,

collar up on that gangly-elegant neck,
exhaling a little white plume of your death,
the orange spot at the end of your cigarette

dimming in the cold air. I imagine
your tongue, salty and desperate, darting
in and out of another man’s mouth

not an hour earlier back in that shack
just after last call, and I think
that you want to be known more than you know—

that the elsewhere inside you, like a hare
who forages on your memory’s stubble,
won’t let your heart slow. Sleep must be trouble.


Jed Myers is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. Two of his poetry collections, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and Watching the Perseids (winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), are to be released in 2014. He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review, Crab Creek Review, South 85, and elsewhere.

The Nameless, in which these poems appear, can be ordered here.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney