Jenna Cardinale

5 Poems

An Adaptation

I did not disable
your shining gratitude.

You were unstable
and crude. You

pressed into the sunburned
parts of me.

Called me prude.
But this was just a fable

about the necessity of quietude.
So I learned to be shrewd,

to feud as if I'd earned it.
I was never rude.

An overturned table
maintains the mood.

Creating a New Stitch

I would never commit suicide
by tumbling out
my open kitchen window.

It faces the alley—
Who really wants
a muffled spectacle?

Some of the islands
strung together here
would then be gone.


I watch her open
into a tuba—
Empty, reflecting
and not made
for rhythm.

She makes me
as uncomplicated
as a match.

I am struck
by her silence,
by the look of her.

The Empty Plymouth

For Weldon Kees

The left-open locks
are mammoth.

There are fewer
peacocks and colors.

The clocks keep
on like hollow

rocks. There are ninety
trees he could have

crept up. Maybe
in Mexico he'll find

safety behind shades,
blue bruises on his knees.

After Sex With A Stranger

There is suddenly so much
laughter. So much
laughter that we know
not what to do with it.

We try to turn it
into a microphone
so that we might be
able to tell
each other something.

But I know I, at least, never
had any interest
in hearing anything.

Jenna Cardinale is the author of Journals (Whole Coconut Chapbook Series, 2006). She teaches poetry writing at an experimental public high school in New York City, where she lives.