j e s s i c a    h a r r i s

In a Strange Room Empty Yourself


Remember the morning when olive doves peered into the window.
        We hid our clothes, the light brushing against the glass
began to sound.
              It is now no longer a matter of knitting sweaters
for birds to keep ourselves warm,
               we are quivering by the space heater in the empty meat locker.
The radiator sits, a dead bone,
               the rug we had put down to keep from slipping
                                                           in the blue light has ruined us.
    The curtain rod broke from the wall.
                                                   This means I failed again.
Listen to the bell cry through the walls. This means
               the human lens is open.
                                               Remember the calm
as the comet of your handkerchief passed to me,
                                   and the well of the blaze
                                            as it rose inside of you.


JESSICA HARRIS is in her third year of graduate school at Columbia University. She is working toward her MFA in Writing with a poetry concentration. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her work has also appeared in Verse Libre Quarterly, the Melic Review, and the Superstition Review.

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