Issue 19






Jacqueline Winter Thomas





You said good-morning & your voice was wind-swept,

         was sycamore.

I have no right to say a word,   to speak your name.


         I carry your language                       like a city inside me

I am breaking apart from the callous world without, am aware

that you will die & all our common people         will die.


There will be no reason to say

         your name, to ever tell how I felt.




         At night I plait my hair, my braids.

I dream Desdemona crying,         burials for the dead,

         unreal cities.

I know you will walk there inside the city of language

& never turn back for fear I’ve disappeared.

I will wait for you. In this line.                  In this.




You wake to blackness. On which side of eternity?


or the next?

Existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities

         of darkness.

But I took your hand once on the dark path to river-run

& cried, eyes dusty because I could not believe in eternal


Of this you spoke, kissing tears or stars.         I loved you

when I wasn’t yet allowed, I desired your skin & lips.         I slept

in the thought of you before we spoke.  I walked the road

to our home before it was ours.




You looked wrong in the new-light & I hated

the world with a strange ferocity for ruining the one thing

         I begged to have spared.


I no longer desire, no longer know the weight

of stars & skin, they have ruined small things, half-worlds,

         & I curse them

with a language I neither trust nor own.


         I will not wait. You will

                                                      turn back.










Contributing editor Jacqueline Winter Thomas is an M.F.A. candidate in poetry at UNC Wilmington where she teaches courses in creative writing.  Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Tinderbox, E·ratio 19, Nude Bruce Review, Trillium, and Burningword, among others.  She is interested in the convergence of poststructural poetics and semiotics.  She writes at heteroglossia.tumblr.com



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