Jenn McCreary


from :Odyssey & Oracle:


& low sky & thick air & I oil

my hair with rosemary & peppermint to ward

off migraine & other demons.   the sun

bleaches me to milk-glass, my heart

slows to nine beats per minute & each

flutter crackles,  fractures

my sternum. 


Tolstoy & his brother believed anything

they wished would come true if they could

stand in a corner & not think

of a white bear.  I don’t think

of a white bear so hard, I can’t think of a wish. 


*         *         *


& understand:  I made my own mistakes & slept

unwisely.  when two separate events occur simultaneously

pertaining to the same subject in inquiry,  we must always

pay strict attention.  relative creatures & corrupt

relations.  our shiny happy fits

of rage.       needs must read as

needs mocked.


translated into French from the original German: language

is the house we live in.  not logos

legos.      in the unlikely event

of nor’easter,  batten the hatches.  stockpile

boutique water  & 100-calorie snack packs.


*         *         *


& there's a benefit to being vague & passive, sure—    just

remember which deals you're prepared to make.            together

we are snark-hunting, we are an agony in eight

fits,  we have learned to keep the dark & twisty

bits private.  why implicate everyone?  you are so

tired nothing seems real & I am infinite

paper in a paperless world.


I am holding my breath for the part

where the machines take 

vengeance, where the biker

gang sets the sky

on fire.


*         *         *


& this, the riddle of his existence—             time no

arrow, no boomerang, but a concertina.   howling

bloody murder is a murmur.  he sent up a flare, carried

a torch.  he built a bonfire & kissed

like a child (sincerely & with intent

to disarm).    which dreamed it?  you

won’t forget to wave? 


messages sent through improper channels require

a decoder ring.  mine is a clever disguise, is it not?  part

sparkler, part statue.   the mirror never breaks.  never

melts.  nevermore.  he was an ache at the base of my

spine.  he wasn’t at all, not really. 


*         *         *


& of course, the Neverlands vary a great deal: your quarter-

million electric lights, my land-locked Luna

Park.  & who it was & what it was.  & that?   that’s

the princess who loved you even though et cetera, et

cetera.    away from the clamor of roller

coasters & shooting galleries, she sets

the table with cups & cakes. 



the sword swallower & the bearded lady waltz

their way to the music-hall, past

the Kinderbrutanstalt hatchlings,  wet &

wobbly.  the mermaid tears tickets, flicks

her tail, whistles down the whole cabaret.


Jenn McCreary is the author of :ab ovo: (Dusie Press), a doctrine of signatures (Singing Horse Press), and several chapbooks.  The entirety of Odyssey & Oracle is now available as a chapbook from Least Weasel Press.  She lives in South Philadelphia where she co-edits ixnay press with Chris McCreary, wrangles twins, & charms snakes.