20 drops per minute. Until the liquid turned vapor leaves a residue so intoxicatingly flammable, everything smells like risk. She said, let’s create a vessel. Let’s create an apparatus. Let’s slow the process, no need for this hemorrhage of light. We will dissolve, return, split, and form again, with greater intensity. We will not inherit the earth but return to the cosmos. Here you are, my eight-rayed star, my eye in the center of the universe. I will forever rock you in gentle waters.

But that you won’t.


To gut oneself of another.   But not completely. Is it possible to mean you differently?

One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth.*

Here is the shadow of longing.

Here is the divine of lost.



* attributed to Mary the Prophetess

Photo Credit: mripp Flickr via Compfight cc

Jen Rouse

Jen Rouse’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, Midwestern Gothic, Wicked Alice, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, Yes Poetry, Crab Fat Magazine, Up the Staircase, and elsewhere. She was named a finalist for the Mississippi Review 2018 Prize Issue and was the winner of the 2017 Gulf Stream Summer Contest Issue. Rouse’s chapbook, Acid and Tender, was published in 2016 by Headmistress Press. Find her at jen-rouse.com and on Twitter @jrouse.

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