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Jessica Van de Kemp



Begging for the guillotine
like Robespierre, the mountain surges,
the letters like a sundial on the tabletop;


there are days when the very wind outgrows you.
Your hair tickles your face like a black moth tickles
the screen. There is vanity in every wall and every arch.


I missed the train to Baltimore: two suitcases and a folio
of unfinished work. A sentence here and there
about the way the shadows never touch you.



Run-in with the Ex


The wind through the skinny alpines:
women kill for less than this.


And this is the good thing
we lose to the taffeta curtains,
to the girl who gestures with her hand
like she’s fluffing an egg white.


You stopped for gasoline like birthday candles like fried Christmas
lights; it's the fifth, and four days ago I was
feeding the honeyguide to the badger. I imagine you
in worn sandals, standing on the rocks,
just a child in the swell world.


I live for the day
that I shall outlive you.





Awake at noon and walk to the bathroom
in long johns and my breasts.
I'm drunk
walking on carpet beetles
scared witless of the sunflowers in the sink.


The neighbour's revving his Harley in the street.
He waves.


It hits me
like a scorpion sting. 


I run past the window, 
covering my breasts with the bank book, 
throwing the Visa bill in the laundry bin. 


There's gotta be a way
to handle this Mick.




Jessica Van de Kemp is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and is currently pursuing an MA in Rhetoric and Communication Design from the University of Waterloo. Her work has appeared in Buttontapper Press, The Danforth Review, Vallum, Branch Magazine, The Steel Chisel, Ditch, The Fieldstone Review, Halcyon Magazine, In Parentheses, and Bitterzoet Magazine (forthcoming). 

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