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Issue 3.3

Winter 2022

Jesse Nissim


This poem come from a manuscript called I Came Here to Make Myself Real. The poems from this manuscript were written over an expanse of time that includes the before, during, and after, of deciding to try to have children with my partner. It was a time of anticipation, anxiety, excitement, joy, and uncertainty. The speakers in the book explore various states of connection and dissociation from their internal and external landscapes. Being a poet who is obsessed with the body, movement, and perception (a former dancer), and being a queer person, a woman, and a mother, I wanted the speakers of my poems to voice their perceptions from all of these positionalities. I wanted them to move within themselves and cross vast distances and grieve intangible losses. I also aim to play with questions of perception, reliability, and emotional truths. I am trying to build worlds in my poems, and once I get into the worlds I build, I want to be surprised.

I Have to be Uncertain as a Wheat Field

I mark the dark and darker thoughts as moving

boats. Targets that won’t hold the violence of language.

No promise has been made to me. The dark at the

center of me tunnels for the next open space. I am

waiting for a bird to land to mark the solid from the air

because my thinking thinks it needs a surface.

Thoughts are always falling like dust, wanting

to touch a sidewalk or a tree, and I have to be

uncertain as a lake entering a storm so the magnet

between the tree and the earth comes through me.

Jesse's Book Recommendations

Whereas, by Layli Long Soldier

Citizen, by Claudia Rankine

Grading for Equity, by Joe Feldman

Coal Mountain Elementary, by Mark Nowak

Everything by Emily Dickinson, C.D. Wright, and Anne Carson

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