portion of the artwork for Jerrod E. Bohn's poetry

Five Poems from Winter Gestations
Jerrod E. Bohn

V
this line is an unnecessary bird whose chirping
instigates the poem. I chose this form b/c
I hungered to replace the voice I’d grown
accustomed to. Skin of it familiar sound
floating above still sheets a wedded
sexuality. Clamoring to taste the throat
the perverse bird who feeds its young its own
regurgitations. I sat up late rationalizing
famines that necessitate mercy killings.
This thought is a necessary line drawn
on the starling whose songs starts the bead
pinned on robins whose return signals
hallucinatory April whose hymn reeks
sparrows. When I was eight I recorded
my voice b/c I thought the cassette
might extract it. I played it back its tone
avian & this I think the form alien

VI
I failed to see through the glass. Even leaving
the glass left a watermark near a book
sitting on the glass table I failed to see
my hand open the book I had forgotten
many times before. I failed at forgetting
your name in beads of water your name
on my hand under the glass under the book
table damp outside rain in rings forget I
said it. Your name. My failure
to empty the glass of the book’s words
beading on the pages as seen circular
stains in names the rain rings audible
forgetting. For getting. For giving myself
to writing your name in condensation
I fail in seeing. Through the glass the book
leaves words ringing. My hand

VII
a film appears over the projection screen
your body in mine—an ark. My father
used to hold me & sing the world into
being. Little baby elephants in his hands
half-mad wolves in pairs in pours
entire earth made flesh the word
he whispered to the orb breathing in
his aftershave. My mother made
few covenants. Your fingers fewer
project familial promises floating
like cork pieces your mother’s whine.
I ignored those sounds you didn’t say
sleeping those oaths in distances between
our body tossed on waves broken on
sures. Vow to always be I am
not my father I have no thumbs
cannot stop the flood or carry you
above water. Projecting

VIII
I give you a briefing—in the next room
they dance hiphop & speak of passages
worded wanderings through vacuous halls
I am not the man you loved. They stomp
slur by dawn will have passed out twice
two sips from most bottles I am a
projection. I don’t know what I’m projecting
spit glows in blacklight your teeth
by morning my knuckles gashed they say
I punched a bike & passed out twice
once as who you constructed. You were right
being afraid they danced so they could hear
lower lips detached from language I would
that night my shadow. A dim hum
shudders walls the beat broken trembling
they ask if we’re all right we’ve passed out
beyond the frame containing us. As sound
will grow in memory I reduce to

IX
may forestalls her arrival. Cement is stained
name-dropping other months aphids
eat the petals pigeons shit wherever
home is where the heart transplants
bread-crumbs in mouths of those
who name. The neighbor’s lilacs must be
saved from tonight’s late frost do we
have enough vases enough faucets
scented bathwater the lavender oil
rubbed into your back my weight O
yes the lilacs. I could not forgive
in calling have cut & bled let’s return
do you find it odd I still speak
stems arranged in tube socks old shoes
April’s delayed departure. The full tub


Note: “Poem VII” first appeared in Souvenir: A Journal.


Jerrod E. Bohn’s Comments

The poems are taken from the fourth section of my unpublished, book-length manuscript Animal Histories. The book is highly autobiographical with an emphasis on language acquisition and origins, particularly poetic language. The book also speaks to relationships, the crisis of being in love, and one’s connections to family.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 42 | Winter 2013