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Issue 4.1 

Winter 2024

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 Am Not a Body Anymore

That is too large a space to always keep an eye on.
I have been warned, you can’t avoid feeling.

Is there no certainty among the many beginnings
which are everywhere, opening? I had a body

the other night. I pulled my neck trying to dodge
my neck’s own movements. I put my foot into

a shoe and felt a sting. I am trying to wait for
the mystery of grass to tell me what is next.

I can’t stop my wishes from bending over me.
Each necklace I’ve worn has joined the architecture

of my shoulders. Bodies are more trouble in
summer. Someone said winter is a blankness

that receives our projections. Basket of linens
folded along crisp lines. I too grow and spread

and love myself among the stony things
that glisten, the floor frozen with life.

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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