Poetry Suite by Emily Jaeger

Editor Carrie Seitzinger, Poetry, April 26th, 2017

"I’ve cut another country out of my map, the ocean gallops in..."

Emily Jaeger Poetry Nailed Magazine
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Besshø

 

I asked for a kiss
……….and you gave me
………………..a mountain

in Norway. We’ve had stranger
……….miscommunications.
………………..I asked for a kiss once

and you poured me a cup
……….of molten mercury.
………………..We made love

with it on our hands,
……….then sat and watched
………………..a liquid grow solid,

roll across the floor
……….in fat silver bubbles.
………………..The mercury

couldn’t be gathered
……….up like crooning
………………..Flubber or tempted

like flatworms to a kidney,
……….monarchs to rancid meat.
………………..Another misunderstanding.

I asked for a mountain
……….in Norway and you gave me
………………..a volume of Japanese poetry,

a crater from Mercury,
……….and a gift
………………..certificate to a stereotypically

schmaltzy sushi
……….place in Boston (cream
………………..cheese sushi is not a thing).

Your hands were very full
……….and your eyes
………………..looked tired.

+ + +

Re: Lesbians in Minsk—To Ana

 

I wasn’t mad at you. It was the first time
you talked about Minsk beyond the clean streets
or learning to swim: flung from the edge
of a pole into the deep end.

I saw your city: rapt angles and winter.
A countryside of hard workers in bright,
unfitting clothes. Judged by generosity.
Not necessarily xenial, but the kind
who would want to protect you
when they said Aspartame makes you fat,
eat real sugar. Are you afraid

that you still believe what your mother
believes—that you can’t just scrape it
off like the residue of pepper from your cold hands?
I’m telling you it’s not personal.

Each time I name myself—ta-da—I’ve cut
another country out of my map, the ocean
gallops in thankful for this new hole.

+ + +

Broken Axes

 

I am not used to my wife
here every day, inside
my cunt. I don’t want her
fingers asking me questions
I’m not deep enough
or wide enough to answer.
When she leaves for work,
I return to the smell
of myself on the old sheets,
scrape last night’s
congealed Brussels
sprouts from a tight-lidded
pan. Let’s go to the museum
like Frank O’Hara and kiss
in the Chinese garden.
A calligraphed poem
hangs untranslated:
Poem Titled ‘Broken Axes,’
letters ragged, crackling
across the page like how
you’d touch me in a stall
if I told you to.
Broken by the blade?
Or by the stem? Forever
or until replaced?
In our apartment,
a pile of things to replace:
the milk frother won’t froth,
the French Press arrived
in six jagged pieces.
I ride across the city,
a dinged knife
balanced on my lap.

+ + +

Practiced Hand

 

Step 8 is making amends, so you try. You write me in your curved hand
the way you wrote our shared grandmother one thousand letters

to pass the interminable time or meet time’s empty eye.
You say only one year left and you are practiced

at prison. They wouldn’t tell me what you mainlined
or dabbed. Our grandfather died

and you disappeared the next day in your mother’s car.
A tennis bracelet, cash from Gram’s drawer palmed.

You say, cousin, write me back.
Send books of stamps and only ten cards at a time.

I think, first I’ll write my brothers and parents,
I’ll double my old stamps like praying hands.

You’re not my sister. The last time we talked I was two
and you drew me a Lil’ Tyke house free-hand.

Now the list of cousins I don’t speak to is longer than the list of cousins
I see and you’ve sorted me out: the sympathetic poet from the engineers.

Manipulation, you’re old hand. You just couldn’t trick the teller when you signed
the check: Give me whut’s in your till now I got a gun let me see both hands.

+ + +

Header image courtesy of Lindsey Price. To view her Artist Feature, go here.

Emily Jaeger Poetry Nailed MagazineEmily Jaeger is the author of the chapbook The Evolution of Parasites (Sibling Rivalry Press) illustrated by Robin Levine. Her poems have appeared in Four Way ReviewTriQuarterly, and The Offing among others. After completing her MFA at UMass Boston, Emily will be the 2017/2018 Olive B. O’Connor Fellow in Poetry at Colgate University. She has also received fellowships from Literary Lambda, TENT, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize.

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Carrie Seitzinger

Carrie Seitzinger is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Seitzinger is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.
Learn more about her at her official site.