Three Poems

Jessie Knoles


each era of my life seems surreal now
do you remember the last time i bled
Hannah arendt’s the human condition
I’ve put the years on my body but
                My body is strong
Archive of experiences
Top left part of head, 2 am Friday morning
                10 am Saturday morning
I always feel better in motion
When you feel sound
Did he tame me?
What’s it called when
                Your defense mechanism is to
                Preemptively alienate yourself?
I didn’t even recognize you
Ripe avos matoes beer rika jita c. oil limes
Selfie after every post-sex pee break 2020
                Selfie after every cry 2020
In my dream I had a dream about you
Have I taken a sort of comfort in its death?
No matter who says my name when they say it
                I feel warmer
It’s true I live in my own imagination
L’hiver 1969
How do we carry all of this weight inside ourselves
And everyone exists online now
The anthropology of space
I hope someone makes a lasagna for my family after I die


today i stare at birds and think about
staring at birds when juli was still alive
and telling her about them, admitting
that they were sometimes my only joy

today i stare at birds and think about
how these are not the same birds
that i stared at while juli was still alive—
those have all flown southwards

i identify patterns, like how long
the catbirds stayed for and the oleos
only visit in the spring, and the cardinals
and the robins are always here, but they
get bigger and fluffier in the wintertime

and there was a week when several
rose breasted grosbeaks dove
into the windows and died and
how we cried over their broken bodies below

in april only weeks before she died i sent
juli a poem about staring at birds and
she drew a photo of a nest in a mailbox
like a letter from a friend like a
connection we had and will always have
I dream of a future love
Feel myself wholly
Only weep into the carpet
When absolutely necessary

I dream of sun again
Pour milk into sink
No longer reach for bottle
Look into the mirror and
The stranger is gone

I dream of fullness
Grass stains on elbows
Unexpected human touch
Sweat of walls like caves
A brain that thinks good again

I dream of thinking good
Loving good moving good
Eating good I dream of
Relearning how to walk
And talk and think and love
I dream of birth
jessie knoles lives in illinois.