THREE POEMS by Jenny George



This is how a child dies:
little by little. His breath
curdles. His hands
soften, apricots
heavy on their branches.

I can’t explain it.
I can’t explain it.

On the walk back to the car
even the stones in the yards
are burning. Far overhead
in the dead orchard of space
a star explodes
and then collapses
into a black door.

This is the afterlife, but
I’m not dead. I’m just
here in this field.





The lambs I curled like twins
and lay into their boats. I stuffed their ears
with the wooly sound of sleep.
The pigs I showered with white carnations.
The cows I placed cut branches over, green parasols
fluttering on the stems. All the dead
becalmed in their vessels, sent onto the river.
The river was a murmur of many boats drifting.
Petals in the eddies, creak of prow against stern…
The parade grew large between the banks.
Then there were only boats, boats
and the sound of water beneath them.






Before the insects start to grind their million bodies,
before impulse scatters the deer into the trees,
before desire:
       there’s a rest.
The dawn and the day observe each other.

The herd begins to move over the field, one shared dream
of grass and wind.
The small stones of their hooves in the stony field.

I’ve exhausted my cruelty.
I’ve arrived at myself again.
The sun builds a slow house inside my house,
touching the stilled curtains, the bottoms of cups
left out on the table.




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About Jenny George

Jenny George
Jenny George is a winner of the 2015 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, FIELD, Gulf Coast, Cimarron Review, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, failbetter, Indiana Review, and Shenandoah. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo Corporation. Jenny lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she runs a foundation for Buddhist-based social justice. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.