The declaration

is so soft

no one notices and

when our breath catches

in our wine swollen throats

we wonder how

such debauchery

could have snuck in.

For my birthday

I asked for a 12

pack of toilet paper

and a sturdy pair of boots.

The first to fight

the ration shortage,

the second to fight

standing still.

For your birthday

the state of Virginia

banned oral sex

along with all the other



nature so I

sent you a picture

of me


the turkey blaster.

We still manage to see

fireworks even though

they are not

really fireworks.

In some distant

country not yet at war

with us the arches

of a cathedral crack.

I make an altar

out of pilfered bird

bones by the river

you will never see again.

Five tornadoes

touch down inside

the cradle

of a 10 mile radius.

We all raise

our arms

but we cannot

hear each other scream.

This is my arm

I hurt it when I

jumped across the creek

and fell.

You are not allowed to jump

across the creek.

Neither am I.

This is my shoulder,

dislocated after I bought

a train ticket.

I am not allowed to buy a train ticket.

This is my shirt.

It was torn as a shirt

gets torn

when its wearer meets

an incoherent,

violent yearning.

Look for my eye,

it went missing as I was

leaving the theatre.

I am not allowed to see.

This is a revised version for my poetry collection, Lupercalia. This poem first appeared in The Idle Class, Aug. 2014. Read the original, previous version here. (Written as Jessica Forest)

Is it your desire to destroy

the sleeping city tucked away

beneath the mockingbird’s broken wing?

There are not just mouths,

there are not just eyes and thighs

asleep inside.

Swallows get swallowed.

Doves lock Peace away inside themselves,

secret and safe in their iron hearts.

Crows attack the sky



The mockingbird tries to fly

and the city falls

heavy with wishes and dreams.

There are not just hands,

there are not just tongues and names

in love with words your

language wants to destroy.