Three Poems by Jessie Gaynor


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Three Poems by Jessie Gaynor


Saint Augustine gets to second base

That hairshirt is quite becoming
on you. But then, if I were on you, I'd –
(repent.) Juicy, your pears
taste illicit, like big-assed idols,
my mouth worships
and I write no confession, just
knit an afghan of thorns
and sleep through the night.
Where's the Catholic Guilt
when you flounce past the Hasids
on Bedford Ave., brazen
as July. We're all sweating like whores –

Until the next broken grin
when abhor can reclaim
the slot of most verbed, and our lips
will envy the pagan trout's,
which have some variation
in their snapping and popping.
They damn the seabass, or more likely
the salmon, apostate upstreamer.
Give it a few centuries,
and reexamine the prophet question.
Hatcheries, at least, will have advanced.


Ode to a leg

As I devour this petticoat, I take care to preserve
its hooks and eyes in a good sock, one of many

I expect to have soon. Left socks, loose eyes,
embalmed need, I am flush. I stockpile lye

for the coming glasnost wound, for the decomposing
best intentions, for once this restless leg

takes its leave and there is no need to withhold
downcast glances. I've been coy as a maiden

worrying eyelet shackles, gathering nuclear shade,
I may yet miss you but only as a phantom itch

when I breeze past the nettles. If there are still nettles
and I can still breeze.


But take our friendship

They wish to inanimate you, carve

a stoic from your raw redness.

They show you the same flashcards again –

          This is the trench. This is the corpse. That is the past

– and pound the sand when you remember

all the wrong words. This one wraps your finger

with rosy gauze and sighs like a lobbyist

who just wants a smoke and a bed.

You and they, you don't say, only declare

and siren-whine across the shallows, truly

who ails you sweeter than the deus ex-bestfriends?

Phil, O they have no love

for your coral voice or your flint-ballads.

Jessie Gaynor is almost certainly moving to Yellowstone or Reykjavik next week, but for now lives in Brooklyn. Her poems can be found in This Great Society as well as in her mother's pocketbook.