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In a Thicket of Body-Bent Grass

By Jessica Jacobs

Arkansas is aspic with last-gasp summer, making running
like tunneling: the trail’s air a gelatin
of trapped trajectories.
                                        Yet deer float the twilight field,
ears periscoping the woody browse.
            While bucks bed alone
in deadfall and ditches, trusting themselves
to thick cover, females gather
                                where wind can breathe in
a predator’s scent. Forelegs origamied into a mantis prayer,
they are poised to spring even when sleeping,
survival a balance between stillness and startle.

                                                                                I stop, kneel, stalk
along blowdown of sumac and hackberry, cowlicks of crab grass.
Eye-level, the field is messy as a made bed unmade
by love, my hands greened and musked
from ungulate scat and piss. The deer—dark hillocks merged
with their shadows—welcome the animal
                                                                       I’ve become, offer
an abandoned bed, matted and dusky as the sweated twists
at the base of your head those mornings you wake to thank
death for conceding another day. For the slatted light bugling
through the shades. For my palms to your breasts, my breath
to your neck.

                             Here, though, tonight, creature
in another creature’s bed, I am taking
just a moment to be an animal alone
in my own head. All while you, I know, are home,
trying not to look for me, again,
out a window grown so dark it just reflects.

Forgive me. I’d grown so used to being lonely.




Listen as Jessica Jacobs reads "In a Thicket of Body-Bent Grass."

Added: Wednesday, January 30, 2019  /  From "Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going," (Four Way Books, March 2019). Used with permission. Photo by Lily Darragh.
Jessica Jacobs
Photo by Lily Darragh.

Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going  (Four Way Books, March 2019). Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance, a biography-in-poems of Georgia O'Keeffe, was winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications including Orion, New England Review, Crazyhorse, and The Missouri Review. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, and professor, and serves as the Associate Editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown. Please visit Jessica’s website.

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