Jeanann Verlee

The boy moving overseas asks to meet for coffee to address our “miscommunication” about his ongoing friendship with a man who raped me.

Go. Leave the apartment threadbare,
      stripped of its sheets & area rugs.

(Re)discover lands long colonized
      & all the sweet spice & pussy unearthed

(& colonized) by generations before you.
      Congratulations young wanderer.

Find whatever sunsets or forbidden
      indulgences might adorn your next poem.

Find love. Find a god. A backbone. Go.
      Learn a new preparation for lamb

with lemon & figs or an ancient word
      for coward. Go on, search for your soul

or some kind of forgiveness.
      This isn’t riddance, dear boy.

                                        It’s a burial.

Jeanann Verlee is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow and the author of two books, Said the Manic to the Muse and Racing Hummingbirds, which earned a silver medal for poetry in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She is a recipient of the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, and her work appears in Adroit, The Journal, Yemassee, and BuzzFeed Reader, among others. Verlee has served as poetry editor for various publications, including Union Station Magazine and Winter Tangerine Review: Fragments of Persephone, and has edited a number of individual collections. Verlee collects tattoos and kisses Rottweilers.




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