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Deja Vu

Rolling over the blackbird
her throat

locked out,
a letter T   

punctures her chest.
White light.

To write equals to love
a stranger

or disappearing porch.
Wood saved from fire,

cut by a coping saw.
On the roof it smells like a birthday.

Despite repetition,
everything unfamiliar—

There’s no way
around the tandem bicycle

her house

on its own door
to dry.


Signing Divorce Papers
              for SW

Forest slows to a stop

Truck tire
onto my foot

I pledged to hold up the sky

Gut of a burro     
Shivering songbird

Moose shoulder-deep    the lily pads
Thick panic breath

I swallow bees
to believe the world

How much of this I dreamt?

Ink-bellied horseshoe bat
wakes under the barn

surrounded by food
Sunrise     set

Night travels all day
twisting this letter forever

I will not love you  


Jennifer Chapis has published in magazines and anthologies such as American Letters & Commentary, Best New Poets, Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, McSweeney’s, North American Review, and Verse.  She was awarded the Arts & Letters Rumi Prize in Poetry chosen by Mark Doty and the Backwards City Poetry Series Prize for her chapbook, The Beekeeper's Departure. Faculty at New York University and co-founder of Nightboat Books, Jennifer lives in Brooklyn.