Four Poems

Jennifer Militello



time/day: transmutations

Here, the soft cycle ache trembles bright with its own limbs sovereign, floats stained like a clawed deep, armed with teeth otherworldly, armed with gears and husks mammalian and in flux. The syntax is a shredded post.

I am most unable.

I am a plantation I cannot articulate, growing with throats thrown empty in the ferment, growing with terrible shapes and the deforestation spreading like a stain. If there were an edge, millenniums would be present there. The past behaves. The past muscles its way in to spill like a shipwreck or smash of clouds or gone jackdaws of blank.

I am extended bittersweet as the sift of a lullaby. The ache brings me. Pain names me like a bracken. There is no shallow here. There is only a try for the end where it summers. Only a forgetting on which we will depend. It gladdens and whistles. It corrupts such a canopy of hammer-stricken air.





I don’t live. In the weeks ahead I will find solace in the weavings of a bracelet. I will find solace in the way my hair provides fodder for the robin’s nest. My hair is leaking out the back. The podium is built with a postscript of landmines. I am built with a postscript of rhymes. An infirmary of pressures. An altitude of sighs.

Seamless bouquets of luck wilt.

When you spell things, they end up in your mouth.

If a child’s bucket fills with sand, what answer does the world give. What sift of tea leaves, dragonfly limbs. There is a world of ice crumbling inside of each of us and it gives exactly what we ask. It flexes its wounds before us. It clasps our lockets around our necks. We are lost. We are wasps stinging the trespasser. The paper of the days is the paper of nests.

It has its peak of soft auditory facets, its hive of travel, and then it is caught and then it is less.





pupil + iris = pulp or droop

raw + air = lungs

rupture = disappears
rupture = disappears

froth + earth = rupture

cell + cell = death death death

scheme = the body

posture + late night + tired eyes +

florescent lights = makeshift targeting

florescent lights = squint smell beaker rat time

florescent lights, something made from scratch




the circle museum

If there is a God, it has no engine. It sits into dust. It rusts. It heaves. Its smogs branch. Its blackbirds jag their voices clean.

Do you see the results. Do you know what they mean.

The whole operas of our species are worth less than an ounce. We alone state the field, seek the remedy, sort the real. The numbers rub up against stickpins tipped in poison. The momentum has a noose like falling far against the wire. Like a barb that keeps its terrible groove coiling with corrosion.

Let there be __ to build for us what we cannot build. A finger of bourbon and a working class kiss.

Let sin be converted to the down some waterbirds line their bodies with. Let our spiritless heart sacs contract. Let the arrow take wing.

Let the organs be raw, robotic. Let the random be a mercy to rabbithole down. Let us find brothers in the heap.


Jennifer Militello is the author of A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), and Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The North American Review, The Paris Review, and Best New Poets. She teaches in the MFA program at New England College.