O Not/O Repeat

by Emily J. Cousins

fog over the field again must be some negligence/some artifact
sprinklers left on or drainage ditch overflow

I feel myself someone else/somewhere else
where the birds lay the dry rushes down & breath floods the brain

something anything to slow the sparks
O not this again repeat repeat—no—change something

my life is not this hour or this
not one but many paths O want/O what

you seedlike thing waiting for tender space to rest
maybe the brain afire before moving

beat your breast wail wash your feet here comes the decline
or maybe it’s still too difficult to say

wait wait

not all innovation is profitable
not all thought entertains

I fear the height of something as much as the start
no end in sight expand expand contract

park across from St. John’s watch a man on a fence post
no pull away again pick a present moment be here be here

no here now abandon hope of fruition & of meaning
get experimental throw some shit together see what sticks

O let’s make it sexy/difficult
O let’s see who reads it now

buy in to the mystery don't look at the fruit
before you put it in your mouth

do it now don’t look


Sick Woman

by Emily J. Cousins

It is January &
it is snowing &
the week of
inauguration &
I am setting
the scene for my
own petty despair
spend so much
time thinking
multitude of paths
that all end
at the void &
how does one
choose especially
I untended garden
able yet
lacking action
hold guilt
in my mouth
like a liquid
sit down & cry
but know not
what for &
to want & have
to not have
to want & want
the body a strain
such a pitch
remind myself
to be open &
vulnerable to be
careless & to not
spread the hurt
but spread the
hurt anyway
recede into the
body leave you
I sick with want
try not to take
up space try hard
not to get noticed
exist a little less
get told downtown
that ass don't lie
it’s true it also has
to be smarter &
sexier too
you think it
must be wanting
has to be to
look like that
bait the hook
freeze up
in crowds push
the panic down
bury myself in
I am not a body
I am not a body
I will not spread
the hurt again
I— I— I—
will do better
be more human
write the happy
poem then
hope will come
for how could
one express in
words the body
the emptiness
the simple
meaning that
never comes
no—no instead
write each match
sudden light
struck unexpected
then thrown
into the dark

Emily J. Cousins lives, teaches, and writes in Denver, CO. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, The Offbeat, Bombay Gin, The Maine Review, and elsewhere.