poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Jennifer Militello was born in New York City and grew up in Rhode Island. She earned her BA at the University of New Hampshire, where she studied with Charles Simic, and her MFA at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is the author of A Camouflage of Specimens (Tupelo Press, 2016), Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), and Flinch of Song (Tupelo Press, 2009), winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award.

In her review of Body Thesaurus, Cate Marvin writes, “In the face of supreme, and therefore extreme, quietude (‘The mouth of me is bitten off’), Jennifer Militello’s poems hand us over to that other life we nightly receive in dream, a dimension at once seamless and yet so strange.”

Militello is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Millay Colony for the Arts, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Writers at Work, as well as the 49th Parallel Award from Bellingham Review and the Ruskin Art Club Poetry Award from Red Hen Press, among others.

She teaches in the MFA program at New England College and lives in Goffstown, New Hampshire.


Bibliography

A Camouflage of Specimens (Tupelo Press, 2016)
Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013)
Flinch of Song (Tupelo Press, 2009)

Job's Comfort

Once you were a god I could feel
enter the house from my room.
Once I knew to shut the door
when you returned. Once my muscles
tensed in anticipation of the moment
you came and rained your anger
down; my sister and I cringed.
We’d hear the car pull in, snap
the television off, and run. But
there was no escaping the key
in the lock, the door swung back,
the sound of your heels crossing
the floor. We were soft-bodied
in our shells. We hunched
quiet as the corners where we
crouched. We split up to decrease
the risk. We would sacrifice
ourselves for one another.
Except I remember the night
you pulled her from bed
and set her before our father
to accuse him. How she must have
stood in the living room while
you screamed, head down, fists
clenched, although I couldn’t
see. I was huddled fearful in
my bed. All I could think was
I was glad it wasn’t me.

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Militello. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Militello. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

Jennifer Militello

Jennifer Militello

Jennifer Militello is the author of A Camouflage of Specimens (Tupelo Press, 2016), Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), and Flinch of Song (Tupelo Press, 2009), winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award.

by this poet

poem

Mother, I have destroyed you. Forgive me as I am
destroyed. The submarine of you, mother, has, underwater,
shipped me off, has fired on me, is nuclear. Mother,
the gold tooth of me is stolen, the frayed cord of me
is broken, the scored record of me is frozen, the scratched
recording of me

poem

Take the man you think you love and his
fabulous lips. Take him from one place
to the next. Let him drive your car. Let him
drive it through the mood-crazed woods
until it overheats. Let the nights feed
from your eyes as you look at him. Do
not turn on the heat. Do not spill
the

poem

Hatred is the new love. Rage is right. Touch
is touch. The collars of the coat, turned down,
point up. The corners of our hearts are smoothed
with rough. Our glass breaks slick, our teeth
rip soft. The mollusk of me, shell-less.
If the future once was, the past predicted
us. The street