/j bullis

When Your Name Is Amanda Bubble, You Don’t Get to Cry at the Bar

I do my therapy at home or in auto-repair
waiting areas.

Before the stories tucked behind the aspirin
and band-aids,

my medicine chest held the usual treasures.

Like memory of that time at Sandy’s wedding, the odd
smoke from the boathouse.

Oh, the stories, the stories I could tell—were a stand-in
for mother-love.

Why, then, am I a stranger to fiction?

The problem with stories is they won’t write

Meanwhile, even the tiniest poems are hard at work,
changing tires and scraping barnacles from hulls.

God, do I have to explain every little thing to you?

And if home is where the art is, why are you
leaving again,

and when are you going to come back?


Amanda Bubble Composes a Fifty-Word, Third-Person Bio for a Literary Magazine

Amanda Bubble is a floating backstory and a watery I. Originally from, she holds her degree, lives in and edits, is nominee. A survivor of, she is the recipient. In such her poems appear. Guest-in-absentia, figment-in-residence, she is a self-who-writes. Most recent finalist currently. Memorial prize, breath emerging, forthcoming: Lance-Free.


Amanda Bubble Pines for a God to Call Her Own

Your waves are a church, Your walls
a consummation I have kept waiting.

I listen at your gates to take redemption
from Your cedar railing.

my fear was a leaf-shy horse, spooked

by an unseen veil. For a time, I erased
my aloneness with a steady brush.

I fell from that winter like fir cones
from a steep-pitched roof.

The wind casts its banked stones
against my skin.

I know how the sky
calls its ceiling gold. How spring

sands Your sacred floor of its
grey-green, short-reined meaning.


Amanda Bubble Composes a 100-Word, Third-Person Contributor Bio for an Anthology about Childlessness

Expectations are dishes we eat from. These are the vessels we dare not break. Amanda Bubble makes a grim practice of her leaving; as it is, every morning comes up missing. Early on, she denied anything was hers to feel the absence of. Now, the stove is the only place to hold her boiling over. Barefoot, she finally notices she’s dropped her favorite mug. The shards edge the old romance between forgetfulness and recall. She stands peeling the questions: does she like people enough to want to make more of them? How would she gather enough love to give away?


In Which I Attempt to Give Amanda Bubble Some Advice

I mention you might be a bit too wedded to your grief.
You acknowledge that might be true.

I bring up the Buddhist thing: breathing in what happened
then letting it go.

You say it stays in the atmosphere: there’s no point pretending
the air isn’t poisoned.

You say reality is cyclical and comes back around.
We just add another twist to time’s frayed Möbius.

I ask if it would help to unhitch it and move on.
Nah, you say. Forgiveness is for suckers.


Amanda Bubble Composes a Hundred-Word, Third-Person Contributor Bio for an Anthology of Ecopoetics

Amanda Bubble woke in the tent to the day’s full heat. She left a space within her for what came next: the adults’ hurled anger, splintered words. She rode out summer in the backyard willow. Hearing the lone dog whine in the kennel, she asked for a future, was told Maybe. Was taught a skill, and another. She worked long and late to pin down meanings. Learned words give greater pleasure when they slip. Looked down and wondered if the earth would build her a soft place for landing. Held the sticky willow leaves spelling out Hope in her hand.


Jennifer Bullis is author of the chapbook Impossible Lessons (MoonPath Press). Her poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in such publications as Terrain.org, Illuminations, Heron Tree, Natural Bridge, and Tahoma. She was inaugural winner of The Pitch contest at Poetry Northwest and is recipient of an Honorable Mention for a lyric essay in the 2017 Gulf Coast Prize for Nonfiction. Originally from Reno, Nevada, she holds a PhD in English from the University of California Davis. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she taught college writing and literature for 14 years.