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Four poems by Jenn Marie Nunes

There: PDX
(Wouldn’t That Make a Great Story?)

Say we write it in a story. That thing she said an ugly affair the friend who made you Nair his back. Say we write it all in a story & start over again the same. Say we publish that story & the next the next the same. Say there is a reader. Say we are the reader. Say we read the story with pleasure after all we wrote it with pleasure say we never get bored with our story who says there’s more than one? Say we even become rich buying it & eat mangoes & yachts & now the story sets the gold standard & has lots of Bordeaux. Say then one day there is a naked child in the story small fatness in the grass small tow-headed lollipop. Sudden pink skin. It is our only flaw. Try to come home from that. Try to find home.


There: SoCal
(Hands Have Short Memories)

Look west. We’re not going that way into the sunset soft out of everyone’s lives. Suck it up kid have a milkshake. Have the perfect skipping stone. This is the golden state where my hands are not hands like saints have hands traded up to greater. Not hands to steady roughen in the earth make seeds into fruit. Live it out on one maybe two pairs of thighs. But then even without gold we all have things we want stolen. There are oranges out there truckloads full. I could peel them forever & never touch another flesh. Tamp a hollow in the dead grass for us to curl up feet to feet spine to spine. We could live off oranges & gin. I shouldn’t say these things out loud love. You’ll have to tie me by the wrists love. Blossom of cool air against my palm. Thanks for not hanging on too hard. The way the stone suspends the way it sinks like a stone.


Where: NO
(Stop Drinking Stop Drinking or You Won’t)

Tell me your zombie contingency plan the one with the black lake & canoe tipped on its head. Tell me how thick the mud the pond scum soft & caressing your calves tell me it won’t swallow. It scares me when you say things like blood. Tell me it’s not your body. Not the movie alive in our cellar. Tell me it’s my body my pheasant scent dulling your eyes to coin. Tell me we won’t go     up the stairs     won’t without windows      won’t think we know the stars      think we know who won’t die.
                                                                      The zombies are in the cabinets breaking glasses in the bedroom bumping walls. I tell you I wish they’d pull my guts out have done. I tell them I taste like roses like yam. They pat my head. It’s the dead fur burn of your breath they can’t stand.

Tell me your zombie contingency plan the one where the water is warm as my mouth. It’s a good place to float I can tell you it’s on the third act. Zombies & I we’re taking the train to the coast. Tell me clear nights without running & how zombies don’t swim. It’s not celestial it’s not the planets in a cross.

This is more whisky
than blood.      This is your skin peeled back like the sticker on an apple beneath the softness browning the place we stood toe to toe rotting us into the sea. Tell me you’ll never stop paddling & I promise. I’ll eat you first. I won’t leave them one bone.


There: PDX
(Beasts of Burden)

Say you have a tractor. We are in the streets of New York.
Faces follow in pale cauliflower concern. Say
you have a tractor in the streets of the city we are riding
& it is June. Say slow turning over. Out there
it is strawberry season & we have the tools
here in the city we are riding through the city
plow the lights the grid smell of diesel & hay.
Say we’re not wearing underwear. It is all a matter of time.
Darling say you are the tractor grinding through the city
damn cars & I am a cat sunning in the second-story window
looking down. Say you are the tractor & I am a little red cat
from toe to tail sleepy in the sun & the road buckles
beneath your wheels & fumes & a seed or two.
I tend nothing but my coat.
Say there is a tractor & a cat sunny in the glass
storefront the tractor driverless mauling straight
for the cat asleep in her display the yarn
daisies the silver wrapping-paper sky. It is time
to wake up. Darling
we are the tractor & we are the sunny cat
in the glass looking down like angels
look down on stories they think
they themselves have written. The people frozen
in their fantastic train-wreck streets we
their emergency are terrible girlish are grinding beast
rows & rows of cauliflower all waiting:
the world must make sense.


Jenn Marie Nunes holds an MFA from LSU. Her poetry and fiction appear in such journals as Bateau, Monkeybicycle, the Alice Blue Review, elimae and the Sonora Review. Her chapbook, “Strip,” is forthcoming from PANK in July. She is a member of New Orleans. Some say she has pretty eyes.