“Pocket Guide to the Cosmos”
I. Call it what it was: a one-night stand.
II. Never find yourself alone in moonlight with a man that
is not your husband.
III. Most certainly, do not fall in love with said man.
IV. Admit the contempt you feel as you watch happy, young
couples holding hands in the park.
V. Pray the earth still rotates on its axis, especially when said
man never calls back.
VI. Listen to friends who tell you sadness can be diluted like
VII. Be careful not to mistake street lamps for stars.
VIII. Remember how the sun is lonely, too.
IX. Pretend to go on. Wear grief like a slip underneath a
X. Accept the firmament as dying fires.
Jia Oak Baker is the author of the chapbooks Crash Landing in the Plaza of an Unknown City (Dancing Girl Press) and Well Enough to Travel (Five Oaks Press). Her work has appeared in The Good Men Project, Profane, Poet Lore, DMQ Review, Likewise Folio, and elsewhere. She received a 2015 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and has also been awarded artist residencies from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Hedgebrook. Jia lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and teaches writing at Paradise Valley Community College.
Ben McClendon is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Tennessee. He previously studied poetry at Northern Arizona University after teaching high school English for several years. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Yemassee, Ceasura, Chariton Review, Redivider, Rattle, and elsewhere. He is currently Assistant Poetry Editor for Grist: The Journal for Writers and a poetry editor for Four Ties Lit Review. Ben lives with his husband in Knoxville.