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Thursday, November 07, 2019


by Jenna Lê

Photo: Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar, November 5, 2019

my split ends crackle
in the dry November air

my goose-down coat’s nudged
my cheeks out of existence

my hairy calves scritch
inside my long underwear

the polling place lights
sweat yellow in the distance

the 5 PM sky’s
already blueberry-dark

voters in their booths
crouch walled apart like bento

I mouth my own name
through lips pale as pickled shark

the election judge
smiles sweetly nonjudgmental

Jenna Lê is the author of A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2018), which won 2nd Place in the Elgin Awards, and Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011). She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s inaugural sonnet competition. Her poems appear or are forthcoming from AGNI, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Rattle, and West Branch.