Jennifer Nelson

That Smile



Male Questioner: is there ever a reason you’d have different footnotes


on the same poem?


Swashbuckler: well there are many different versions of the same poem

and these will have different bottlecaps

on different words


I wanted to say I would live

to defend difference over and over


but I don’t like representations of should


as a ragged dustfroth sways

and notifies no spider


too broken to sustain this love

I’ve tried to save the satellites


as an old woman tests her face

when she sees herself on the computer

Beyond the Measure Principle



a screen blooms then fades, a little

moonrise against dawn

People often say timing


is off but they mean

time bloats

into military history, a schedule


I want to dart through

and bring others with me, passing

through words and other


inexactly repeated epistemological statements

Though trees aren’t

dense enough by the lake to summon


forest, still

puddles multiply their crowns



JENNIFER NELSON’first book of poems, Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife, came out with Ugly Duckling Presse in Dec. 2015. The second, Civilization Makes Me Lonely, was chosen by Anne Boyer for the Sawtooth Prize and will appear from Ahsahta Press in the spring of 2017. Nelson’s other work has appeared recently in BathHouseLITWreck Park, and elsewhere. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.