8 | jenny drai

from proximity questions


The difficult house. Some eaves rustle
lucid and tongued. Disobedient to the voices
funneling through the hall. I have a lot of quaking
to do about a certain ritual I perform merely some
hundred times daily as the sun unspools
tendrils past the roof. The runny yellow light.
I tell you something but you’re elsewhere.
Remember specificity for later. I am. Here.
All the walls in the house saturate themselves
with shadow, beautiful and gaunt.
I cannot read them but believe absolutely
in their supremacy. The ritual
unwinds its own tendency. Please believe
in my dilemma. Write to me.

A temperate climate. When I look at you
I can see some magnitude, a vast part I haven’t
noticed in a while. Everyone’s turning
the lawn inside out, dissolving
boundaries of roses or fresh chives. I have
set you a task to pull bunches but you haven’t
arrived. You’re looking in mirrors
to check your deodorant
isn’t staining your clothing. Little
discussions. When I desire
to forget you, I place
you elsewhere. Write to me.

The stove is gone. I must nourish you.
I stomp our bones and tendons home through tunnels
of blue midnight towards proximity and a kettle
in absentia. Abashedly, I cannot
believe you when you bring to speech
that eiderdown’s on the cheap we ought to go
get a new comforter.
The down
feathers are gone. I must convince you of our current
status whispering through an atmosphere of grey
sky spilling the cumulus in sheets.
Except it’s not raining either.
Having cumbersome duties to attend to, I set
clocks for you to rehabilitate.
But the bed is gone. The mattress, disappeared.
Sex on the kitchen sink. That basin,
melting slowly into a watery abyss.
Write to me. Divulge to me
what I have kept hidden.

The wide open. I have to explain a few things.
The small and mouthful you. Gather the noises I’m
thinking us through. We can have ‘it all.’
Et al. Delicate intention, I’m
searching for you. I never peered at the garden
as such before. No, I have looking.
Your name visible a thousand fifty-three
times over where my tongue brushes
teeth to pronounce the __.
The first letter. And do not tell me the initial
impulse is not to arch your neck around.
The first sound walking into the yard.
You, gathering persimmons. We have never
been ashamed. Write to me.


jenny drai’s work has appeared in Court Green, 580 Split, Five Fingers Review, Sorry for Snake, Spinning Jenny and The Tiny. She studied German as an undergraduate and holds an MFA in poetry from St. Mary’s College of California. Raised near Chicago, she lived in Hamburg and Munich before settling on Oakland, California. She works in a furniture store.