Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jessica Lieberman - Three Poems


I’ll snatch a few strands from my bun
And bring them before my face
For inspection.
Sometimes I’ll tug once or twice
to test the strength of each.
Circumference and texture vary.
Color varies too, amber to coal.
One is thicker than the rest;
It will also curl differently—
Once I find it, I’ll isolate the obscene thing and
with it
for a while.

When the time is right,
I’ll take a breath
and pluck.

I’m sure a yanked fist of hair
would bleed and sear--
I’m not saying it wouldn’t--
but on the scale of just one,
I’d hardly call it pain:
only a pin head of sting
precise and sharp
like citrus.

This Glove Won’t Glide on Anymore

This strange glove, so snug last year
--fabric full of afternoon orgasms, smoking gentle joints and painting shows, whispered
imperfections against fleece held heat--
is now grotesque!

As time and space passed between us,
the seams have come to
cut in all the wrong
places, constricting circulation in odd
patterns, breeding the resentment of hemoglobin.

Altered glove and hand
reunited are
Frankensteinian and queer.

This cruel chimera mitt made us crazy crazy.
Even when we tried, we couldn’t stretch it—
So there you have it:
A cold cracked hand left
loveless gloveless bare.

Becoming Monster

Something terrible grows in my gums;
I have fantasies of flossing incessantly.
I may be mis-locating the pain, though.
More accurately: There is a tightness in my jaw--
A feeling like bone petrifying.

I’ve started lucidity checks again.
More and more I’m tempted to
verify that I’m awake.
My token move is to push on things—
Walls and countertops mostly.
If they bow from my small force,
I know for certain I’m dreaming.

I was hungry and thinking of apples
when you sobbed up against me,
confessing his cruelness to my collarbone.
I nodded intently, searching for “clavicle”
amidst a sea of clinical language,
while you got my sweater wet.
Without knowing it at all,
you baptized this new thing.

Jessica Lieberman grew up in Rockville, Maryland and attended the Charles E.
Smith Jewish Day School there for 13 years. She currently studies poetry at Kenyon
College in Ohio.

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