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A Poem by Jen Coleman

A Poem by Jen Coleman

Author: Poetry Editor

January 14, 2016

This week, a poem by Jen Coleman.




On my back
between August and September, stuck
under an illuminated drop-tile photo
of two oaks against an empty sky:

green reaching out
toward red, left to right,
literally translucent,
metaphorically transparent.

The technician has the same name
as the woman I’ve accidentally loved, and lashes
my feet together with elastic gauze

as a post-punk station blasts fuzzy
through the headphones intended to protect me
from the MRI machine’s groans and bangs.
I almost laugh

when Ian Curtis comes on droning about how
without the protection of infancy’s guard
it all falls apart at first touch.
He never knew what it was like to be this old,
if this is what old is or isn’t.

Neither woman wants to tell me much
now that summer’s over.
Come October, I’ll be thirty.

After, down the hall, she opens the slit
of my gown, gasps
at the radioactive-pink exotic animal print
left by the sheets
tattooing my entire back,

at how easily my body marks.
I want to say Anna, Anna,
of course I’m changed.


JEN COLEMAN was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she has been a finalist for The Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships and the Zone 3 Press First Book Award. Her work has appeared in Appalachian Heritage, DIALOGIST, Fifth Wednesday Journal, New Welsh Review, Phoebe, The Southeast Review, Vinyl Poetry, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from Hollins University and lives in Virginia with her two Manx cats.

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About: Poetry Editor

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