The HyperTexts

Edison Jennings

Edison Jennings lives in the southwestern corner of Virginia and works as a Head Start bus driver. He served thirteen years active duty in the Navy, and after separation he completed his education and began teaching and writing. His poetry has appeared in several journals and anthologies. He is also the author of three chapbooks: Reckoning, Small Measures and A Letter to Greta.


Sunflowers, tonsured holy-Joes,
once fat-faced with seed, now broken

backed and winter-shorn, no more
turn and track the sun, but sleeved with ice,

coruscate in the of-a-sudden church-belled air,
as if the hills were clapper-struck,

welling sky with tolling bells although
I don’t know of what the tolling tells.

Previously published in Innisfree

The Cats of Rome

(George W. Bush/Silvio Berlusconi, Second Gulf War Summit, Rome, June 4, 2004)

The cats of Rome sleep, feed, and breed
among the tumbled travertine, and slip,
tails high, across the flag draped avenues.
Ignoring pomp, alert to circumstance,
they cruise cafes for crumbs or prowl
the Pantheon.
                     Because the ages blaze
and fade, the cats ignore the ranks
of flags and fleets of long black cars.
At the axis of the empire, they curl
round Trajan’s column, indifferent
to a fault, at home in a falling world.
            for Felicia Mitchell

Previously published in Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize Chapbook, 2015


“Her hair was long, her foot was light, / And her eyes were wild.”  John Keats

On the floor, amid the clutter,
            a blotch of sunlight spread like butter,
glazing kicked-off high-heel shoes,
            a boutique blouse of sequined blues,
the lingerie she had let fall,
            `leaving her in none at all.

Time since that lush dishevelment
            found her less and less content,
until she shed constraint like heat,
            enthralling, cruel, and indiscreet,
that warmed, then burned, and left him chilled
            in the house the sun had filled,

refracting through the mullioned panes
            upon a wall in shifting seines
and on the floor in pools of gold,
            a grotto where he now grows old,
drifting through the gilded wrack,
            grotesque of love, or love’s lack.

Previously published in Alba

What to Do with Leftovers

When she doesn’t show,
toss out the bread for birds,
freeze the shrimp in Tupperware,
and forget the words—

all that awful sweet-talk
you practiced while you cooked,
the boyish innuendoes
on just how good she looked.

Plug the cork back in the wine
(the fresh whipped cream won’t last);
what was meant to be a feast
has now become a fast.

Take the pills the doctor gave
and try to get some sleep:
what you could not save
was never yours to keep.

Previously published in Rattle

Connoisseur of Decline

Your rubbish strewn house, swayback and rotten
and but for ghosts, condemned and vacated,
a ramshackle chapel of the forgotten,
has collapsed on its joists as if deflated.
No well-meaning friends can now rectify                   
the chaotic charm of your OCD                                 
(they loved you too well to ever dare try),      
and you went to your grave with your pedigree:         
a curious man, a gleaner of junk,
young wife confessor and Dear Abby reader,
dashing in used clothes, in love with a punk,
watcher of birds, a liberal heart bleeder,
and writer of stories not enough read,
kind and peculiar and terribly dead.

Previously published in American Journal of Poetry

Feeding the Fire

Down the chute the coal chunks come, black and brittle
from time’s press, packed with essence of dim forests,
funk of flora, fungiforms, relics of the Paleozoic
destined for my furnace, fire-bellied Baal that warms
the innards of this house.
                                     I toss the flame a shovel-load
and feel the blaze of opaque past transfigured into infrared,
then kick shut the furnace door and wipe the smudge
of pitch-black dust that seams the lifeline of my palm.

Previously published in Kenyon Review

Comprehended Nectar

Sometimes I’ll find them when I’m dusting,
dead bees on the windowsill where they had beat
against the pane’s transparent density
that barred them from the garden,
the foxglove and the lily compounding
in their prismed eyes, pollen never looted,
nectar never drunk. But once a bee
I thought was dead revived and stung me
near the eye, my vision tender to light’s touch
as any trembling stamen, and venom-tinged,
more brightly grew the coquette flower cups.

Previously published in Kenyon Review

Brown-Eyed Girl

(Genetic analysis of a Denisovan fossil, dubbed “Brown Eyed Girl,” reveals kinship to modern humans.)

So close, we’re kin,
according to the DNA
unraveled from your genes:
brown eyes, hair, and skin.

You bequeathed two teeth
and a mote of finger bone,
coded scant remains
that reveal your life was brief.

My short-lived daughter, too,
had brown eyes and hair.
That makes us kin:
she through me and me through you.

Previously published in Rattle

Once in Vermont

In the womb of the ghost
that envelopes the world

in spangled repose
was holy the mirroring river

and holy were the patchwork
farms with motley swaths

of high autumn wood
trickled with birdsong and holy

the air that leavened the clouds
and whispered of white sleep.

            for Sheila

Previously published in Typishly

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