The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: “Songs from an Apartment” by Olena Jennings

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“The Last Supper”

“he will leave by any means”
N. Ge

Impossible to walk in the grocery store
on Sunday without touching edges of carts,
elbows, and tiny platters of olive oil.
The fish sits in puddles of it at home on the foil.

The knife, he calls out, but I am the one
who tears into the vegetables, leaving tomato peels
like damp rags on the cutting board
and I am the one waiting to carve out the space

in his body that would welcome my nightmares.
We aren’t thinking of babies. I give birth everyday
to create space. I protest his fullness, the sound
when he finally puts his fork down on his plate.

My robe the color of a tangerine.
He wants me to be happy, to think of tropical
vacations, but citrus juice stings my skin,
leaves red streaks on my cheeks.

In the hallway, the paint chips, wood splinters,
the scent of spices floats from the kitchen, my robe
catches on a nail, falling from my body near the door
where I stand to watch his back as he goes.


This selection comes from the collection Songs from an Apartment, available from Underground Books. Order your copy here.

Olena Jennings has published poetry in Poems by Sunday and The Anthology of Young Poetry of the USA. Her poetry collection Songs from an Apartment was published by Underground Books in January. Her translations of poetry can be found in Chelsea, Poetry International, and Wolf. She has published fiction in Joyland, Pioneertown, and Projecttile. She completed her MFA in writing at Columbia and her MA in Ukrainian Literature at the University of Alberta.

Heather Knox is the author of the poetry collection Dowry Meat (Words Dance Publishing) and the forthcoming YA fiction series Vampire Wars (EPIC Escape). Her poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, [PANK], decomP magazinE, Word Riot, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Heather currently teaches online for The Poetry Barn and Southern New Hampshire University, and serves as Managing Editor for The Wardrobe.

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