Skip to content


Audio: Read by the author. 


Part 5 

Today I found this word I like: Badme 
my rube white body lights up with grateful yum 
like a Fourth of July float. In my paradise 

there would be a lot of liquids and could I bask 
unabashed in the breathing 
hammock of myself as a kind of Sweden  

for unrequited fleeing. I try very hard to hide 
myself and abide that kiln of fight. Is he actually  

like Bob, shorter than I imagined and smelling 
of cigarettes? A little bear a little belly  

admits chagrin chastened and smart 
hungry and grinning  

opera singer dishwashing 
a new possible sun  

green lights slide over the car 
as it hugs the tunnel bend  

In America I feel more subjected to amnesia  

I feel the buzz of my overachiever  

to have friends is to be at the mercy of pizza  

I realized I had stopped making eye contact  

Occasionally I would hear my name  

The voice is clear sure and burred 
with undertone of laughter  

I thought you made me up and so 
what if you did  

Excise the heart, the breath, the self
Is there such a thing as demons  
I feel undone like kelp  

my body just feels tired from accepting love 
breathing like a new deer glittering  

If I know the meaning of all words 
am I the victor. I am  

a much better advocate for myself 
in dreams weeping and screaming  

The only place I’m not 
subjected to the nicenice face  

the only place I’m not a traitor 
Where I gleam and grin  

Ah, I’ll eat your heart 
And I eat it, I eat it  



Jennifer MacKenzie’s first full-length book of poems, My Not-My Soldier, won Fence Books’ Modern Poets Prize. She has published in numerous journals, including SpillwayLungfull! and Forklift Ohio. She teaches at CUNY’s Lehman College. 

Image depends on its subscribers and supporters. Join the conversation and make a contribution today.

+ Click here to make a donation.

+ Click here to subscribe to Image.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

If you like Image, you’ll love ImageUpdate.

Subscribe to our free newsletter here: