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Jenny Drai

I tell you about the water, you say: / Chart. Fill out those columns.


This red bathrobe isn’t
blood, it’s hope.
I want a life of sensible morning choices.
The sun’s pace, a balcony’s width.
The balcony faces south, so the
light is constant, but it’s still a pulse.
A brown cat provides
domesticity in several shades.
This is so normal.
In the kitchen, you scramble
eggs for breakfast.
Our planters are overflowing with chives.
Last night, the gruesome
television kept me awake.
Help me, the tied up
woman begged the asylum visitor.
I’m not crazy.
How characters relate, that’s the
thought that trembles and holds.
Then I went to bed, the place I
go to become someone else.
Probably my hair is excellent
in that other universe.
I don’t want to take these
pills anymore but my body hangs on to
whole mouthfuls of gentle water.
Tongue + slippery capsule = get it?
Seven oceans in my throat.
Is it possible to build a tent out of
stunted emotions? You
know, flowers that smell a bit
sweet, but then again, not really, not like
gorgeous perfume. Maybe red
can still be a good choice.
A strong bathrobe is definitely a shield.
Pink and white blossoms
dot the cotton fabric like ink.
The balcony sweats salty light.
I walk inside, my body a windless tree.
Breathless. Trajectory.
You hand me a plate of eggs.


Opening the fridge.
All that water in glass bottles.
What is light?
I’m not a magpie with two souls.
You tell me to write the
disorganized fractal pattern
down on the thought.
You really do.
I tell you about the water, you say:
Chart. Fill out those columns.
I don’t think you’re helping anymore.
I would like to tell you about
my sodden past child.
She was a spilled cup, an opened
locket, soft violets in dark.
Your childhood wasn’t a catastrophe, you say.
To store water in the fridge,
to drink later out of tall plastic tumblers.
The water comes from an artesian well.
Artesianal in the green grass flowing.
Some cold spring bursting out of a pipe.
All the eyes in this place.
Maybe some field where sweaty lilacs grow.
The water has feathers.
The water isn’t
water, I made that part up.

Jenny Drai is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently The History Worker from Black Lawrence Press. She lives in Dortmund, Germany, and works as an English teacher.