Poetry from Jenna Kilman


The flip of your lip;
swelling & crackled between forefinger and thumb
growing succulent ripples
raw biting and across the room kisses
the way you sicken me with beauty when you know how to poke my tenders,
the feelings that trail behind me all day grabbing at my ankles like toddlers
begging for attention and winning me over
with enchanted, squeaking voices
the smell of your creased cheeks in the mornings
resembling warm milk tethered with
lost poems found after years
crumpled so sweet.

You are a hoodie.
The one that makes everything feel alright,
I slip into you like a pencil into a hand
like a drawing grows out of a page.
You’re the one
that smells like my every scent combined
then swallows me whole
enveloped in my sheets left with the single flicker
wrapping my arms around myself,
whispering secrets into the mattress.
The one
that I avoid putting into the laundry pile for months
because I can’t bare to not have it for a week.
So I let it grow moist with use
nurturing stains and spills gradually
gathering my hands into spheres enfolded by your openings
The one I rub my nose against, pressing
my whole face into until I am clay.
The one inadvertently fit for me.

How pretty
I find your pores
squashy and pink comfort when you cry
that unleashes something else, not what I was crying was about.
Some muggy hurting, released. Every time.
The messiness we all toss around like greens
looking for the special bits at the bottom of the bowl,
the ones that’re sweet, sweet to the palette.
When I see you this way
I never know what to say, but inside
I am carving your silhouette into my groves.
Spellbound by your youth.
I adore, those moments when something wise collects itself
grinding decisions down to powder
then finally, digestible.

This memorabilia is a body
that I hunger to draw
searching its every curve
bending over the wood board,
gaping with my mouth open & sodden
entranced by how much movement can be in stillness.
My eyes glaze and mind wanders like a bee
steady nostalgia and turned on by the flowers.
I burrow myself into the belly of this feeling
dozing off as if I’ve drunk my favorite wine:
tinted lavender;
when the summer is rainy and fragrant and I can stack biographies
next to my bed.

I’ll always know What That True Love is
Even as I search absorbedly
A hoodie traipsing inside
Quenching my salivating heart
That wants to rip itself open
Letting the tendons and veins be spliced and ragged and free.
Even when I am nothing but thirsty
I am a drenched woman standing in the desert.


The radio is turned off.
Then giggles peel themselves like banana skin
to a somber,
doughy center.
The kids are piled pancakes
their voices whiny and long,
every word drips like molasses
from their lips.

A palpable image echoes from the broadcaster’s slow motion voice
and we all die for a second into momentary silence;
papers crackling under sneakers
lips bitten to raw open juices
pencils barely touching the page, just grazing
like a cow rubbing its nose to grass
without a bite.

The spaces between us shrink down to grapes hanging from the same vine
nuzzling each other in gusts like wind chimes do
bulbous and purple
swaying and magnetic
as we move
towards the Juice Bar.

The car grows balmy and the window fogs
plump fingers sketching smiles and hearts into the glass
as the world’s war thickens the soup of us.
A brothy sip of mom’s fiery lectures
the aroma of dad’s broken down cars
his swelling
chili peppers, so hot and tempered they fall off the creeper
The after taste
of that implacable flavor that churns in your belly for the rest of the day

I see an image of gun bundles hanging from the banana nails
the kids stampeding past the juicers & mixers
wearing rags: open desert vests and pants un-seamed at the ankles, thin white cotton tops,
hair in wild bushes.
Their heels clacking against the purple linoleum
Demanding snacks and jokes like the herd demands space.

We’re in my panther black
gas ravenous jeep.
The jungle: Hartford city.
Our heads hang out the windows like drooling puppies
playing tricks on these city streets and then hot boxing our cackles.
Writing stories one word at a time.
We are singing, an off tune choir.
Arms flailing with muddy fingertips.
Papers strewn like floor rugs with drawings of ballerinas,
sky flyers and skateboarders dripping blood.

Johnny breaks the silence and says,
“Anorexics hate themselves,”
and I reply, “We’re all just trying to love ourselves despite the hate.”
And I gulp down the taste of these words,

These kids are so wise
they have wrinkles,
curling thumb nails,
the echo of laughter harmonizing
leftover in a cave.

The dream from last night traipses in like a cloud
The girls waiting at my doorstep
In Sunday dresses
And my arms open wide
Our embrace is drums and flutes
Our love smells like a cupcake baking
permeating the air and filling it
with candied flowers.

we’re standing at the blue bus stop curb
while I squeak like an anxious old woman
with 6 growling bean sprouts hanging off my wrists
dragging books by their feet like weights.

We all enter the bus as if it were our adventure’s triumph.
Hyenas stepping with invisible medals dangling over our hearts.
One after another
demure with tall chests,
exposed knee scrapes and jean tares
facing the faces of Hartford.
I let them tease me for being naïve
sharing the joke like a soda pop
we pass around the table.

We crevice and the city glides like the world
does when you ice skate.
Kiera looks up at me and smiles so large and zealous
that my fingers crack themselves.
Our eyes and grins cuddle a moment
chuckles puffing through our teeth
as she leans her head on my shoulder’s pillow
and we arrive

Frozen, we enter the abbey. Grass landed

deva blessed hiatus.
Chilled to bone, arms wrapped around curves like wool,
skin wool,
lyrical wool snow,
aside my feet.
Beyond the wooden floors, furnace colored cushions, Carvings
reveling in a golden gong.
We look upon
tender smoke rising from a hot spring laced with
opal colors of snow & a
garden of blue jays, cottonwoods, a twig fence.
Kiln water. Upon my ankles, my navel, our eyelids.
Nestling into burning coal moss.
It is savory in here. Floating in
hearth pebbles that stack like vertebrae.
Bodhisattva monastery is plump in radiant quiet.
Zenith soaking
xylem, seeping into our blood now.
Eyes misted as 5 am. Words
jazz tinted by
Venus beat
mantras; the pulse of our sedation drifts.
Yolking, we are as statues. Ever free to beauty,
poetic egg nests that may crack open upon this


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