Two Poems
Brett Elizabeth Jenkins


In this life you moved away or died

and I set out to find another like you.

They had to perform tasks and feats:

stack cups up, choose a favorite item

from a set, crack knuckles in rapid

succession. Could they do the things you did?

How were their hands? Had they any memory,

real or imagined, of cutting bowl hair in a green

retro kitchenette? I related the story

how in a past life I sat on their laps.

My bony blonde shoulders digging

into your ribcage like angel wings leaving a mark.

None of them had ribcage angel wing birthmarks.
None even had birthmarks around their chests.

Their hands, subpar. The cup stacking, lackluster.

Rinpoche XIII

There are different ways to say

your name. I say tree, I say
marlin. This time, you are seed.

Now, you are milkweed.
Anything alive. We are rind.

There are different ways to hurt, too.
I say wound, I say cut.

We are sore, we make each other
this way. This time, you are hands

and you hold me. You are little ears.
Your name is sand and the wind

blows it away. Your name is watercress,
dovetail, birthmark, archipelago,

firedust. The conifers are dropping
their caves down,

there you are, here we are.