Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Jessica Morrow


We were eating leaky fruits, peaches
and plums bare handed; I peeled
an orange and fed you half the pieces. The beach
was bright, noisy, sand stuck
to our fingers, gritted in our teeth.
I pulled the stringy white bits off
with sticky fingers, stained
red already from Michigan cherries. A pile of pits
beside us; we'd brought bags
of fruit purchased at a roadside stand.

It was Mackinac Island in August;
everything fresh
and expensive, cherry chocolate fudge,
champagne. I wanted the days
to never end, the sun to pause
in its wide summer stretch. On horseback
riding the Michigan shoreline, I always
find my way. I
was far ahead already by the time my horse
coaxed yours into a canter.
It was my way, to ride ahead, aloof.

Now, we live among silent pines
that root themselves deep in thirsty earth.
It's midnight, it's one, it's two
and I watch you sleep, I'm writing, I fill
page after page with ink scratches that signify
nothing. I never thought I'd be this way at 26,
insomniac, exhausted, I have everything
I've ever wanted.

It's three a.m.
There's no fresh fruit in the house
and the moon is contempt,

a fat yellow grin, its teeth bared, lips
stretched thin at the crest
of the horizon. My thirst
is so deep, my throat
crackles in the desert night, the dry sky,
your sleeping
mind, mine alert, waking, wondering
what you're dreaming, what secret language
you speak as you mumble, rolling closer,
rolling away.

BIO:  "I am a still-emerging poet finishing the thesis work for my M.A. in Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University, at a distance from my home in Auburn Hills, MI. My poetry has most recently appeared in the Tipton Poetry Journal, as well as in the literary magazines Knock and Thin Air. I was the third-prize recipient in the 2006 Tom Howard Poetry Contest, and received an award of $200 for my poem 'For Jen.'"