Jennifer Bailey Hutchinson


many days and today i walk with people that are like buildings but that miss (i argue) the marrow of life (they don’t), i walk low-backed with them and rake off layers of sweat and am deliberately barefoot and this all narrows to a hot slick line down my back, a linear throb down the sweaty passage that aches with subglacial pressure, and i feel a sadness that is osseous and alone and a smear

so i ate: a flat chicken thigh flash-fried by my mother and brownly softened by three days in Gladware, frozen broccoli stalks, and two tea candles

today i thought to kiss someone but didn’t, but they or more so the moment stayed with me like a hard tick in a damp place, i dwelt horribly on wet marble eyes, a long brown side that drew and draws mucous to the back of my tongue and dammed and dams the swollen esophagol throb there, and this i feel in the very meat of me, a frisson of deep solitude, of wholesome point, my twitching voluntary muscle straining away from the empty center, my tongue towards a fragrant throat, towards the soft wrist pulse, towards a mouth less calciferous than my own

so i ate: champagne and steamed pork and every red crayon i could find

i am full of a great roundness today, of a hard glassness that swells me and turns of silent hydraulics, a weight at times at my tail bone rolling hard against my coccyx, and at times at my knee, so there is just one huge grotesque knee uncolored and benign but for the low gritty audible terracotta turning, at times my eyeball fat and blind and hammocked there, or sometimes a tricky bulb in my belly but i know it always for its restless clockwise pivot and that peculiar thickness of only glass and the way it distorts convex even the lightless parts of me

so i ate: two birds and when this did not help i swallowed something corrosive and drooled silver

today i neglected, i neglected the simple smooth cellphone and the sink, i neglected the baby and i neglected nails, i neglected the doorjamb, i neglected the service charge, i neglected the trough-shaped chassis built it seems beside my spleen, the place that shivers ferreously, the place that eats poems and squeezes them diamond-tight and howls in a breeze, the dark empty place i neglected

so i ate: everything and gustfully

what a marvel is sincerity; today i watched a woman with a voice as clean steamed banana leaves announce her affection for blue onion china, and it was just that, clean, a basic unguarded jab of language that pierced me smooth and bloodlessly, and instead something syruplike and smelling of horse-sweat poured out of me, only it did not pool, just drained very linearly towards tall cement ashtrays and instances of self-reflective pronouns, and i remember seeing not my face in the slick sap but instead a crunch of calcite gems not grown from but arranged on a neck i think maybe deliberately, maybe allegorical, but i cared so monumentally little for that rock face that i asked the woman for a glass of water and she led me simply to her home

so i ate: you know i think i just had the one glass of water but her china was very nice

today poured over me a sweet bright yolk, the sky a tangible blue tucked directly against me, chewable and warm, and as i walked directly into the body of that great thick warmth i felt the gorgeous light of my own elbows, the hugeness of my insides, the fleshiness of me even in my cold places, i felt the one precise second of every heart ever born spasming in perfect consensus, a perfect whole onesome thump like the thumb of God falling flat against a bindi-red dome, the sound a gulp of every enzyme and every halogen and every apophatic gravity trap sipping slowly at the edges of our universe, i felt and heard the greatness of this and shat at once my spirit and melted into the grass and the crab claws and the ochre pigments and sucked also my angry body down into the earth, we churned together in the burning totality that birthed supermarkets and krishna

so i ate: hibiscus and by leisure a 1:423 scale model of the louvre built entirely out of brioche

today i am thirty and i am thirty pounds and i am thirty men with missing limbs and i am thirty pages of green sheetrock and i am thirty doorframes undoored by urgent dogs and i am thirty sets of unpolished silver forks and i am thirty quarrelsome girls i am thirty grains of rice i am thirty firsts i am thirty fragile bishop thumbs in the sacred corners of holy oils i am thirty brown avocados pinched in a basket under a musky armpit, thirty beat poems, just thirty beat up old no good poems, thirty eyelashes, thirty fingernails, who are all of you, what is this, get out of my house

so i ate: ladled white gravy from an empty boot in my laundry room, dark

Jennifer Bailey Hutchinson lives in Memphis, Tennessee. She has a writing degree from Rhodes College and coordinates the Bastet Quartet Reading Series. This is her first published poem.