Emily J. Cousins – Jack

the past is there without faces

I try to carry water in a cotton dress

lose the family album

run away to join the circus

in every version the house burns down


it is a few weeks before Easter I walk to the park

I am not thinking where I am going

all these years no one has asked how it feels to hunt

and not find

it is hard to dream of my grandmother’s face

how long can I carry an empty basket before

setting it down

the geese circle their vapid shadows on the sidewalk

I am alive perhaps that alone has worth


faith is a series of locked doors

voice of a siren

my dumb prayer to feel

all the knobs are hot

carry water in a cotton dress

the house burns down



Emily J. Cousins lives, teaches, and writes in Denver, CO. Her poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, The Laurel Review, Axolotl, Palaver, Word Riot, Saltfront, the Sugar House Review, [PANK], and elsewhere.


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