Issue 19




from TEN


Jennifer Firestone





Author’s note


TEN operates by using a ten-line per poem constraint and by resisting the incorporation of a premeditated trajectory.  The work is an exercise in observation and engagement.” 




You look like you have a lot to say or is that flutter?

Why not enter the home and eat the seeds.

Resistance to a hole in a wood house.  How’s that

for unwelcoming.  The white ghost flaps,

my mistake, a moth.  Another month

resting.  Surely moths dislike holes.  Batting zero, 

where’s the cardinal.  She said lucky.

Oh please.  Selecting nature—

they won’t come to me!  Shiny objects

illusively attracting.



*   *   *



The swelling.  Could be an enormous wave.  Well,

it’s close to it.  Always in water—so your thoughts.

Farther away than noticed.  Well.

Ten seems somewhat bare today.

For what?  Wet ropes—sea knots.

Noting the temperature by leaves.  The breeze.

Well, inside thickening.  She notes

atmospheric dips.  And at four someone at

the door.  Regulating.   She’s




*   *   *



Who were the first and how did they build

how was street “street.”  You named us

these names but who were the first?

Curtain askew.  You knew I’d be rushing.

Resultant nature.  Your features—hard

with shine.  Speculating—I’m worried

about grades.  It becomes academic.

Light was just wet.  Now not.

Inching to a storm.  Brainstorming,

who are the speedy readers? 



*   *   *



This time availing.  Barely showing up.

The sun shines, so be it.  Paper strips

flipped, move towards dissolution.

Gold seeps through.

Equipped to shift—

Egyptian themes so you fancy

so you dream.  The red she reads

is bleeding.  Light rises,

high rises,




*   *   *



Until you can’t stand it.


And when the light drenched or disappeared

what says the subject.  Shiver.

Flat palate or modern tint,

she hints at the options.

Choices are chores so she dawdles.

It’s best to self-select, ride with pride

and shoot.  And the red admirals sweep

a grey horizon.









Jennifer Firestone is the author of Flashes (Shearsman Books), Holiday (Shearsman Books), Waves (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs), and snapshot (Sona Books).  She co-edited Letters To Poets: Conversations about Poetics, Politics and Community (Saturnalia Books) and was selected by Brenda Hillman to receive Marsh Hawk Press’ 2014 Robert Creeley Memorial Prize.  She is an Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at The New School. 



                                               <  e·  >