Jesse Rice-Evans is a queer Southern poet based in NYC, where she teaches writing and studies digital rhetoric (memes). Read her work in The Wanderer, OCCULUM, Heavy Feather, Monstering, and a bunch of others. She's the author of two chaps, Soft Switch (Damaged Goods Press) and The Rotting Kind (Ghost City Press), as well as a collaborative zine, sundress comma fangs, with her partner, poet Zef Lisowski.
I show up for alleviation, but we sit with tenderness instead.
Not long from now, you will be a blessing again
— Jay Deshpande
We have been at least two people:
I oscillate between deserving beauty and excoriating it, purging through sleeplessness
Even then, I was hungry beyond logic, desperate to lean into your bloom of mouth, your body
imaginary under your coat, opaque gulf of wool and acrylic, I longed to shred like an animal
Don't lose your longing: this is what makes you
a fern unspooling in a desert.
A savage lesson in letting go: letting you abject on the sidewalk,
your body unbroken, you don't need my spine,
your smoky panels marking the beginning of forgiving yourself.
"Cyclobenzaprine" is the first in a series of pieces titled after new medications I've begun in the last 18 months as I've struggled to manage my chronic pain and disabilities. In this poem specifically, I have embraced the duality of Self I've experienced: dis/abled, not/in pain, how I perform my self in my graduate student role and hide in bed afterwards. This duality starts in the Jay Deshpande line leading up to the poem: an ambiguous "I … we … you". Reading Deshpande, how comfortable he is with this splintered voice, pushed me to work with an I-you framework that seems unsure of itself. I think both first and second person are forms of myself that I'm still negotiating, and this poem centers that tension.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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