j a c    j e m c

from My Neighbor Is Dead


I slump down the stairs.

A ticking compass carries me to the sidewalk.

My eyes train up to
another apartment:

Is your light still on?

I mean: goodbye.

A vacancy opens.


                      By the time something is built,
                      We’re at least scheduling its destruction.


                      The slush of mail is shoveled away.

                      The whimpering is gone,

                      but the smell worries on in the hall.


                      She reached to the bottom of the milk can.

                                  Her hand emerged dripping,
                                  fingers pinching a tooth.

                                  She held it out for me.

                                             Silence peacocked.

the action of passing even becoming still

Blood runs in the idle.


I, too, feel a certain relief, once the page has turned. I sigh and I see.

                      The walls do fall
                      and the golden gates do come.

Shame set down,
a sweet dust calmly settles.


           I thought, Maybe
           those two mouths
           never lied to me.

          Amazing how little emergency can cause one to assign titles.



JAC JEMC works at one of the last surviving feminist bookstores in the country: Women & Children First. Her first novel, My Only Wife, is forthcoming from Dzanc Books in 2012. She is the poetry editor for decomP, a fiction reader for Our Stories, and a regular contributor to the arts and culture site Big Other. She blogs her rejections at jacjemc.wordpress.com

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