Poetry by Jenna Jaco


I am coming forward. I admit to having retconned
the intent of my famous giant orchid-colored
oil pastel scribbles. They are not Connecting To Something,
not a meditation on the first word ever uttered (“Aa”
(a greeting or perhaps a warning (caveman era))).

They are not Aa. They are only the anger. I am
only dragging a bindle of steaming stinging things
across high-quality paper of righteous tooth.
Does everything have to stoke some lighthouse?
How dare I ask my rage to be useful?

And so we come upon a second anger-layer:
In the Aeropostale of my discontent, this layer
is a cropped coral henley, and the original rage
is the lace-trimmed longline cami with built-in bra.
A shirt on a shirt, my metascribble. How dare I ask?

Like this: like a child shifting on its feet,
forged permission slip folded, unfolded,
refolded, pleasepleasepleaseplease.
Like this: retracting my middle finger
to no one in particular as I drive past
the anti-abortion coffee shop with the
RISE N GRIND marquee. Like tripping on a sock.
Like a winter lizard. Like looking back.

Muscle Relaxers

I wake up a starchy mush. My name is travesty
of weighted limbs. Misshapen anxiety blanket.
It’s giving excess of water in the rice cooker!
We have gone too far! My shoulder’s folded
into my ribs, loopin’ through the sternum
like the beginning knot of an origami star,
the chunky small kind you compile in a bottle
and make wishes on.

image: Ribbons of me spewing from the gears of a combine harvester

caption: Soooo… I did a thing!

                                            More realistically,
stuff me down the neck of an emptied-out Tabasco.
I pop and crack so good. Cork it up and lob me gently
across the lake, into an inlet hoarding the algae that kills
dogs and maybe people? But I am ensconced!
I recline, a condiment! The glass steams, curve warping
the branch-shapes overhead. I roll around in sun
filtered through a diamond label and adhesive,
and this, somehow, unties me.

Jenna Jaco

Twitter: @jennajaco
Bluesky: @jennajaco.bsky.social
IG: @goodtrashbunny

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