Jeanne Henry

Jeanne Henry is a New York City-based poet. Her work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Banango Street, The Found Poetry Review and other literary journals. She would love to hear from you on Twitter (@papermaw).

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DRIVERS LICENSE AT 30

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I’ll end up at some dive, out west,

& joke it took me 30 years to arrive.

& yes I was terrified.

& yes I can parallel park

because I’m from New York,

where the lord provides aggressively little space.

& maybe I won’t always feel so desperate

& alone sitting at a diner off Interstate 80.

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I will think of my dad, and say,

New York is the easiest place I’ve ever lived.

& how I’ve been wrong.

& how I’ve ached to be convinced to stay.

& how I’ve always ached to leave

& to leave again.

& how time and light are always passing through my body,

& a car is just the most practical way to be on my own

& not hurt from too many shapes, I cannot imagine.   

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HAVE YOU BEEN BURYING?

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I am in a place.

Not awe.

A step away

from allowing dread

to landfill my life. (On edge.)

Preferring baths instead.

That calming sensation

is me // on mute.

Each day,

I am tasked with

the performance

of burying love.

Work // television // sleep.

Each day,

no matter how many flowers

I’ve jinxed 

in its name:

Get gone.

As if it might

prove something

about me //true.

That I have not

settled into

a quiet unhappiness,

which I

bury into    

work or words.

& If I’m in charge

I can bury

but will not 

be buried.

Is the difference

you think you have.

The difference,

I hope you do.

Burying

is a thankless task

& I’m not sure

I’ll ever recover.

When I ask

gravediggers.  

how they might not

dream at night.

how they might not

only see graves.

Haunted

& lonely.

The only reply I get,

is a lusty silent eye.

& I wonder if they’ve

made up a game.

Like the one I play

about who can dig

a hole faster.

& how,

at least

I might

be proud

of that

small //defeat.

 

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