Jac Jemc


This is the fabric
Which hides my body away from me.
The skin became like this for me,
On account of it.
Because the body was hidden away from me,
The skin does not feel to me,
As the skin used to feel to me,
On account of it.
The skin feels alone under the fabric,
Because the body was hidden away from me.
The body is exotic animal hide to me
Because of it.


A severe colic
Has snuck up on my heart
My martyrdom has become a milky virtue
On account of it.
Because my heart has been snuck up on,
My saintliness feels,
Much like riddles used to feel to me,
On account of it.
My martyrdom is confused and obtuse,
Because my heart has been fooled by a colicky envy.
The spirit is a sneak
Because of it.


This the longing
Housed beneath my shoulder blades
My lungs became like this for me:
small and unsteady.
Because my shoulder blades shelter desire,
My lungs do not fill with air,
As they used to load:
Large and reliable.
My lungs push against the sharp-edged hunger,
Because the need is furled tight against the breath.
My chest is a bird:
Wing-hidden and winded.


This is the controlled forgetfulness
Which fools my saliva sweet stomach.
My guts became dead plots of land,
On account of it.
Because my appetite is neglected,
My belly is a ghost town,
My belly, once a bustling frontier,
On account of it.
My nerve has been populated and tamed,
Because my abdominal cavity has been vacant.
My innards are a drunken barroom brawl
Because of it.


These are the bells and whistles
which announce my wild bones.
Time became like a ticking toll to me:
Because my wild bones were announced thus,
Time is not absurd to me,
Like time used to be absurd to me:
Time tocks with bells and whistles,
Because my wild bones are constantly announced.
My wild bones are decrees of my company:
Clang! Crush! Clue! Cheat!

Jac Jemc sells books in Chicago. Her first novel, My Only Wife, is forthcoming from Dzanc Books in 2012. She is the poetry editor for Decomp and a fiction reader for Our Stories. She blogs her rejections at jacjemc.wordpress.com

"The best place Jac Jemc ever lived was a big yellow house with five of her best friends in Bloomington, Illinois, called, "The Porch."  The house was aptly named after the huge, dirty, slanty front porch which could not be beat for its laid-back vibe and view of Franklin Park. Just thinking about it makes her nostalgic.  The Porch was not just a place, it was an era."


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All photos were taken at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, by Sameera Kapila and Herpreet Singh.

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