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JESS FELDMAN

 

 

RETIREMENT

As we age don't our dreams grow
small  The future crunches them
into so many compartments
for storing all the necessary facets
all the ordinary difficult life things
any adult endures  Dreams crouched
inside children inside marriage inside
shelter inside another paycheck broken
down into bills and food and you an old
lady tucked away inside every penny
 

DON’T ASK FOR LOVE

Dirty old box fan
sputters in the window  

only makes heat hotter
It’s a messy business

when prayers are answered   
Look at you  invisibly

gutshot  spilling out
into a bowl of raisin bran  

your voice grown softer  
brushing your hair too long

looking deep into the mirror  Look
no one dreams about the end of love

When it ends  there’s the laundry  
dirty dishes  You’re down

on all fours  toweling up cat
vomit off the rug  in tears

THE FATES OF LUQUER STREET

The more people I told about the three hysterical old women
living in the apartments surrounding mine, the more the old
women disappeared. At first, I thought it was all a joke: cheap
apartments and a trio of drunk grandmothers crying, dancing,
singing, screaming into the phone at their dead-eyed relations.
A whole building choking on it’s own disappointment. So I spun
it in my mind, called the old women my personal freak show.
When people visited me, we’d sit on my couch, waiting for
the ranting to begin. But, like I said, the more I shared about
the women, the dimmer their voices became. Soon, it wasn’t
voices but only whispers of the tools in their hands I’d hear:
clothesline out back squealing on its track, wooden spoon
rapping the edge of a dull pot. Now I’m lucky if I hear one cough
in the stairwell. I miss them most at night when I no longer
hear them call their beloved cats to bed. It’s all my fault.

 

 

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Jess Feldman’s poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Underblong, Nightjar Review and Radar Poetry. Her manuscript “Call It a Premonition” was chosen by Zachary Schomburg as winner of the 2015 BOAAT Winter Chapbook Competition. Jess is co-curator of Broken Bells, a monthly poetry reading series in Brooklyn, NY.

Instagram: @giftfox
Twitter: @jessfeldman