Wednesday Dec 13

Sweeney-Poetry Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of three books of poetry, Little Spells (New Issues Press, 2015), How to Live on Bread and Music, which received the James Laughlin Award, the Perugia Press Prize and a nomination for the Poets’ Prize, and Salt Memory. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, her poems have been translated into Turkish, and published in literary journals including Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, American Poetry Review, New American Writing, Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Visit her at: www.jenniferksweeney.com. The three poems published here will appear in her upcoming book Little Spells.
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Salmon and Blood Orange

 
When the paycheck’s delayed
and the kitchen is draped
in shadow, we reach back
into the cupboard dark to sustain.
Sea kelp we couldn’t rehydrate,
burdock root gnarled to boar knuckle.
From the macabre still life
of the fruit bowl, we revive
our remains into something
unrepeatable and the haphazard cuisine
stitches the work of our days.
Sometimes a tapas of bold flavor
or just muddled in obscurity
like the night we finally opened
the anchovies and laid them
on an improvised crust.
This is what it means to be a family.
We sit down with our bounty
of endings, last wedge
of salmon and blood orange—




Blessing of Hours, Curse of the Horse


In the middle of the field,
may your horse float
against the furze, fog of morning
like unfinished sleep, may the wet
cockle of his eye be the only clarity,
your skin blurry as on some shore
may fall a lone shadow
that points to no tree.
May the hills, luminous and green,
make green your intention
as silent as wishes
for daughters issued at birth.
May you fall in a nettle patch
May you wade in the brine
May updrafts wail clean off black
waves, a red stone in your throat
for longing
a no-stone for memory.
In the middle of the year
may your horse's gait in the uncut
grassesbe so deeply swaying
your bones shine in their paper bindings
and if he must eat, may you offer
your hand, your hand in his
dry mouth, the scars and the conscience
of pleasure out of this world join.




Year of the Ox 

 
begins with cellar apples gone blue     tanglewood woven to bone in the zero
woods     solo bellow keen     pack on boxes     untidy moon-cargo     woman
mending, bird light     stack the papers set the clock     drag the needle through
the eye of night     the lesson is again     the lesson is wisteria     a mute swan returning
to roost     or there is no lesson     only footnotes to a prologue     align with a tide
chart     keep count but start over after one hundred     begins with a tornado siren  
begins with a coda     carry the rat on your back, highlander     don’t talk too much  
a farewell letter     a stalk of boneset     gives way to tiny howlings