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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)

Oxymoronic Love

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 gives off rhythm. The sun
gives off dusk. When we walk, we
pour backward. When we have nothing,
it’s enough. The hunger leaves us satisfied,
the fullness leaves us wrung. The sum of all
its parts is whole, the reap of it has roots, not
took or plucked. Far apart, we move inside
our clothes: open is old, young is closed. The fangs
we used to bare are milk teeth grown from gums.
The fire we used to be scathed by numbs. We
run on the track of our consumption, done.
We’ve been ice when liquid is our natural state.
We’ve worn our husks, we’ve clenched our fists.
We scold and punish, scrape, pay a price.
We dole out in slanders what has no weight.
We pay in cringing for the moments. We open
injuries in one another. We lacerate places
that flex like knuckles, crack and grow. We are
sipping from the water’s thirst. We were lost
at first. From the finish, begun. We undergo
the pain the other knows. We are cartoon yards
where dogs dig for lost bones. Esoteric,
we are full of holes. That need to be filled.
That need to be dug. We are under-loved.
We are under-known. Give to us and we are
downcast and uplifted and sift like water
and sand like stone. We are greedy, we are
gone. We are helpless, we are prone. Drain us
or fill us and we’ll ache a vast installment.
Let us empty. Let us alone. Madness
is our happiness. Sadness is our home.

Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Militello. “Oxymoronic Love” was originally published in The Kenyon Review. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Militello. “Oxymoronic Love” was originally published in The Kenyon Review. Used with permission of the author.

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

It’s easier to computer than to crash. It’s easier
to computer than to hold a hand or knit
a winter together from headlights on the highway.

It’s easier to computer and be a hybrid and
cross from bowels and eardrums into hours
lit and roaring by like freight. The chapters

there can

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