Jen Rouse


The Hours that were not Broken


The days string out like honey and sun--
and you grow everything and hold it close
like forgiveness.  Like the tender gifts of
beginning again.  If I start over.
If you watch and stay rooted.  If you/I begin
at what we know.  If I begin at less than
risk and abandon.  There is nothing of where
we started.  There are stars clustered
and ancient.  I wanted you to know me.
And how I would never abandon.  How I
would throw us out like a net to catch
what is so complicated.  How I would throw us out
like a net to catch all of the life we’ve
wanted.  Maybe there is only breath.  Maybe
there is the way that I’ve reached and
you’ve reached back.  Maybe it means
nothing.  Maybe it means we are abandoned.
If, however, there is something.  
If, however, we are not lost to each other. 
If I would claim to know you.  If you would claim
I never.  I still believe in the ways
you have grown here.  I believe in the ways you have
shown me this.  You.  How it shifts and changes
in the light.  However you are here. 
However I am.  These arms fall open. 



The Failure of the Analytic Third


I call into the sea and wait for you to sing a self back to me.  Sometimes poet, or mother to the girl who is always upside down, or the one who will look you dead in the eye for mercy and find only bones.  The songs are all in Spanish.  About what is lost.  The hand scrapes the bottom and sand.  You twirl your gown so lovely as a ghost.  And your fingers clutch my throat.  What you would make of me is never what I would make of you—and together we float facefuckingdown.  I am blue and without symbol.  You are not my mother and fraught with meaning.  Someone will pull you from me and into the light, sputtering and picking seaweed from your teeth.  I’ll imagine your siren song.  I will let it take me under.


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