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Where Is the Inside of This Out of Country Absence

by Jacey Blue Renner

Today begins just like the rest: poached
dawn, winter sun glaze, but our branches
aren’t tangled up in do. Last names side-
saddle our tongues, while we wait
morning hatchling, feathering first
before the day crackles with bright yolk.

A war fades into the left leg pocket
of my worn. Nomex seams hold onto an M9
folded (pocket square), two chopsticks
for eating rice on the run. Strike plates
shield from the unfriendlies, three apples
in the ruck in case I run out of bullets.

Today ends. With steak, waiting on Sunday
to bow out, give Monday room to breathe.
Gristle and spice leave me ready for home,
for the triangle of beauty marks across her.

Her curls fret in the wind, in the way I say: soon.

Jacey Blue Renner holds an MFA from Lesley University. A recipient of the Harwood Emerging Artist Fund’s Marion & Kathryn Crissey Award, her poetry has been published in the anthology Looking Back to Place, and by Connotation Press, Brink Magazine, and Porchlight, among others. Most recently, you can find her poetry as part of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project & included in two forthcoming anthologies: one published by Tupelo Press, the other, a collection of ekphrastic poetry drawn from photography of the Iraq War. Her first collection will explore the importance of the poetic perspective during war times.

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