Jessica Morey-Collins


Before our corneas got so dense, we slept
with basil leaves across our eyelids.

We soaked the leaves, spread them wet
           against each eye-lashed seam.

Night dried the basil, scented
our hallways sweet. Sunrise would find
           that moon had sucked the basil dry.


           Our eyes were supple, prone
to dust—immune to blue
           but little else: sense

an armor’s cleft where light seeped.
Visual information, rain collected: continuous
drips fixed all in-routes

through crenels, settled data in the lowest
depressions. Clues were fluid

           enough to haunt
           our hollow spaces,

then, our skull’s many basins
and conduits pooled with color.
           Dark was no ruin, for us.


Every morning, the leaves crackled away.
Only centuries would reveal
the wounded blue of sea.



For a wasp trapped between a window and a screen
two worlds, in tandem, taunt. Nothing I understand
haunts me, Ruefle writes. It’s the instant
of transmutation that laughs from the dark.

Once, my eyes slid open from a lake bottom.
I called and called to myself but heard no answer.
While vast pre-histories crawled through the water
and clung to intruding root systems,
                   each truth of mine gave steadily

way to another. I howled awake, sense
wedged like a seed between my teeth.

Since then, I clatter in the instant between—
ping against glass, screen.

                   Screen and glass together, taut.
                   The wasp flings its joints and bones
                   over and over into both—testing, testing.


Jessica Morey-Collins is an MFA student at the University of New Orleans, where she works as associate poetry editor for Bayou Magazine. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in the North American Review, Vinyl Poetry, ILK Magazine, Pleiades, The Buddhist Poetry Review and elsewhere.