Jennifer Jackson Berry

you write about a girl

& how cold she is
you fill lines w/ images & snow
the cold is quiet & the cold is
your best friend

you ask the girl
how does it feel
to be everything he hoped you’d be?
you write at the desk
in the corner of the yellow
& green room
mostly you imagine
how you’ll be this
why do your arms
still feel empty?
how you’ll do this
how does he love you
even when you can’t make him
what he hoped he’d be?

& because there are
no answers you
become cold you
find it difficult to kiss
when you shiver
& shivers become the music
of every day
& because every day ends
every day ends
you write about a girl
& her shadow
you fill pages w/ exposition & candy
the shadow is quiet
& only shows up in the sun
in the happy
the shadow is your best friend

when it is dark
& when you are sad
& when you can’t be alone
anymore you write
the shadow back

you can be yourself
you can be yourself
you can be yourself

& it is good for you

but when it is warm
& when you are warm
& when you can’t sweat
anymore you write
the cold back


Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, Nov 2016). Her newest poems are forthcoming in journals such as Duende, Split Lip Magazine, Stirring, SiDEKiCK Literary Journal, and The Indianola Review. She is the Editor of Pittsburgh Poetry Review and an Assistant Editor for WomenArts Quarterly Journal. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a proud member of the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops.