Only Together & Only Always

Jane Rohrer

 

yes, I understand that you can’t just say a sad thing and
expect it to be profound (because it is sad), &, yes,
I know there are times and places where there are
dry rivers, & dirty rivers, & no rivers at all, just brown
sink water & yes, I know also there are places and times
with sidewalk blood, & street blood, blood in the mouth
of a deer which is the only meat you’ll get until its gone,
&, yes, I taught a child to read only halfway
by the end of the school year, only halfway he could
get his tongue or eyes around the words ending –
g h t,
& no, I did not go back the next year to finish the teaching,
& yes, I know his sadness isn’t mine to tell, where is he, I still
find his name written into old notebooks, he
was fourteen and born in this country and bit his nails,
& yes, I understand also that I shouldn’t have to prove it
to you. to justify the rape is to relive it. there is so much
room for every kind of sadness, you wouldn’t believe it,
how one staircase leads to a pier and the other to the same pier.
& yes, I know, a pier is a good metaphor for wanting to die
after a man slips you drugs and you’re 23 and teaching
a boy to read the next morning slugging Gatorade saying

thought is to think and taught is to help think, & there
is the sadness of losing & the sadness of never having &
the sadness of having to lose, & yes, by that I mean
this poem doesn’t exist unless both the boy & I lose,
& the rivers go extinct or fill with plastic & every version
of art or love is made by hands filled with (made of) blood. 

 


every morning I am watching my cats as silhouettes lick each other
in the sliding glass door light, watching them reaching further and
further away from me, in their animal behavior, a consciousnessless
I every morning am less able to imitate
                        and every time my phone lights up I feel betrayed,
this was not the version of the earth I was promised, I have forgotten
my patience and I have a brain which is sick with dopamine, which
begs for more time but to do what with it will not tell me, probably
to keep reading tweet after tweet
                        to live for a year with no president, to live for a
decade with dead-bodied televisions, to live through so many violent
human miseries, adorned with likes, I promise I’m not only built
for complaining but this year has been particularly grueling and every
morning it helps to watch two creatures with sharp teeth lick
the fluff, the most-soft part, behind the ears 

 

 

Jane Virginia Rohrer is a young poet from Southeastern Pennsylvania, a place she loves and misses deeply. She is a current MFA candidate in Wilmington, NC. Her work has most recently appeared in Peach Magazine and Show Ur Skin Journal. When she isn't writing or teaching she sells vegetables at the local co-op, and loves doing so.