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Denise Jarrott

By September 26th, 2020No Comments

in which our bodies formed a crossroad, an x


it was not that I did not see it, but that I feared forgetting how

an angle, a spandrel

a letter written in invisible ink in the

between, a crossing


to a place tender


to a place of knives and roses, to aces


wild, where tree roots open

their own terrible leaves

underground, visible

where the dead are positioned at folding tables,

so that the scene appears lively


it is not a distraction it is an invitation

to pay attention.          to write it down          and remember

the number, impossible

or simply unknown


(self portrait in a clouded mirror

self portrait leaning against itself)



possibility, made



let x be time, and how it indicates not decay

but forgetting,                         the desire to exist in spite of it


or because of it.                       ::dead insect preserved, pinned to a bed, in which it is opened


each an x, in themselves,

positioned, in sequence                       (you have felt this




a pattern emerges, a process:


(is it that I am at home in my own loneliness, or that I am not yet

complete?) (that I could easily be torn in two) (that I wanted

to be rent asunder)



self birth: crossdress


man, I


was silk, indefinite

thing to feel


house next to the highway where a girl rides a horse in a circle, a round

barrel circle Scottish terrier runs in a circle at the horse’s heels what you want

is a girl with land what you want

is a girl with prospects it’s like panning

for gold out there its like pull

like orbit, gravity sent yards


down, shaved just a square of land, on

thighs and they thought this is america. this is my daughter

riding in a circle

my wife

her hands in biscuit dough

what they must feel


& what do I do with her how do I care

for a thing like this


how old were you when you first felt that soft spot at the back of your head


the spiral on the back of a baby head where the mind folds and unfolds flag, christ

peering out from the wheat fields the fact is

that wheat can grow all year collects frost crystals at the root                     do you touch

the fabric to                              yourself do you touch                            the curtain’s

edge or do you just look at yourself and think                     of your skeleton?


when were you

                        born into yourselfself-birthing in which

you are your own mother to yourself and would you treat yourself better or worse

if you were your own mother?   it was not a nymph, but a mother I saw


you have seen in yourself

you have seen in the wheat

what you have seen

in the wheat sees you back



farmer, farmer, burning

dress at the window, at this

address at night a dress

by the highway           where she emerged                 alive, purple


silk I never said I’d

do it full time never

tell anyone about it



but when I put it on I felt


more alive than dead drinking


all that light in in the upstairs


room I felt myself


break o            p          e          n          into a spiral into a root system


ice crystals on roots on fire

get dressed go out to the cows


when was the last time you

felt anything soft when was the last

time you felt anything that good


on top of a hill in winter in kansas with all these roots all this stem all these bodies beneath me like a horse I lay down in the field with my back to the field feeling good







Denise Jarrott is the author of the chapbook Nine Elegies (dancing girl press). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, Beecher’s Magazine, Zone 3, Grimoire, and elsewhere. She grew up in Iowa and currently lives in Brooklyn.