Jenny Factor

Page 3

I remade myself for several hours
I remade myself for several hours
in the quiet consecration of sales.
All those selves on hangers, shelves;
the low voices of shopkeepers

brushing my ears. The kiss of fabric—
satin, gauze. My body sheathed
and unsheathed like a sword. 
I am potent now. The owner

of bags that dangle dazzlingly
from each hand. Behind me, a quiet shop
closes its doors. On this February twilight,
these lives rebeginning—with the 

chain mail of businesses shut down,
the whispers of shopkeepers, those watchers. 
I am always turning 
my back on some possibility

I could have bought simply
with these two coins I saved—
Out of habit? For a lover? For 
the me-I-meant-to-be

to arrive. Twilight says, “Go home.
It’s beginning.” The murmur
of harvest soup on the burner inside
and a child’s voice asking a question

whose answer must be improvised
in smoke and memory gathered 
from air. Lay the bags by the door
and Listen. (Do you hear it? Can

you believe me?)  Where
all is habitual as heartbeat, the folded
question mark, Possibility, is also 
--Originally published in Margie.

Parting the Waters

Lion’s Head. The first of September. Rowing
through the Still’s Dam, mucky with live mosquitos,
algae, ooze. The river is molten, blood, my
own circulation.

Paddle. Paddle. Dip. And this twist: Resistance.
Maybe if I’d tried, I would still be married.
Why’s the eddy turning the water backward?
Give me an answer.    

In another season we tamed these paddles
to a complementary clangling rhythm.
Push and pull maneuvered the boat through miles of
Boundaried waters.

Even when rash strokes hit a weird suspension,
boat a jangling stop in a spinning sentence,
we would count aloud, bringing breath and paddle
gracefully closer.

Always on the outskirts some cloud may rise up
stormy, humid, gnatty with pinned volition.
Open up the tent flap, you’re bound to find gnats
circling the pillows.

On a table in a manila folder
papers marked “Divorce” are a hinge. They open
to this empty slate where the sun is sifting
into a forest.

Even when I tried, I was never married
to a restless ease. This unstrung abandon
navigates a clear way downstream. This river
knows where she’s going.



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