Friday, 27 July 2012

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Identity Narrative" by Jennifer Militello

Identity Narrative

Do not eat from October’s black hand, O my situation.

Are you still.  Listen.  Innocence: a seam to be stitched or split with a throw of omens.  I lay me down, my soul to keep.  I have sown my amen in the earth.

Sometimes, I live in the open.  My heartbeat a lamb, my heartbeat I am bleeding from the mouth a heartbroken rain.  The thin inches time will give me winter as I stand and watch.  The small in me has anthems made of time’s mouth made of thousands of beads.

I will read my more childish self to sleep.  She will use locusts only for as long as they robe the fields with the feeding they were meant for.  She will nest where bats nest, set curtains to burning, place a marker beside my name so that I might return.

Her heart, made of shale, lies in the mouth of a pious man.  Its verses are stalls that keep the wind ceaseless.  Its lamps cry light in the shape of young lovers as they two-step through the four rooms of God.

Jennifer Militello
A Flinch of Song (Tupelo, 2009)

Jennifer Militello is the author of Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award, Body Thesaurus, forthcoming from Tupelo Press, and the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail. Her poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and Best New Poets 2008. She can be found online at

You can purchase Flinch of Song, her first collection, from Amazon in the UK (I couldn't find it at any of the independents I tried) or Powell's in the US.

1 comment:

Helen Pizzey said...

I've read this piece several times and am fascinated by its fluid images combining the concrete with the more abstract. I really like its "loose" feel while being also almost liturgical and the way that, for me, it engages thoughts both spiritual and soulish. Would love to read more! Thank you.