/j sadre-orafai

Steadying The Note


I burned an island on my arm.

Here, a remarkable tumbled fire

agate. You played crystal bowls

on my feet and stomach.

Could you sing it into ocean,

all the resting skin around it?

Tuning forks then. Interrupt

this geography into a healing land:

an amethyst point hums against

a circle of moons rising.


All The Safe And Sound


The once-wife married the fields.
Let a draught be ready.
Time took all the fire.
Look to the turn: the well,
the fire in her head shut away.

Away across the field,
close to gone, can’t be a good home.
This floor empty. When stars sprinkled
this floor nicely. What a thing we kept,
we saved on the floor.

Then after him, the upset, the spoil.
All the gold in the yellow buttons.
Bury them. Take plates, dishes, yellow
buttons. Yellow buttons dig. Find
the yellow. These yellow plates and dishes.

I dug them up.

A pretty yellow button. All the harm
and soon gold after the answer.
Take the way, the fastest. Turn back
home. So narrow the trees. Poor trees.
All the hurt rolled down the young day.

Trees chafed away. Find such things locked
safe. A way home. The clever wife,
the house, the door, the pain. Answer the door.
Carry the load. Fasten the door. Climb up,
night, into the very truth. Belong to things lost.

Climb up, morning. The door, very tired
and so heavy. Let go. They must go. Throw
the boughs. A door must last. The door must
be here. Murder coming fast and all the gold.
All the safe and sound.

Bless it.


Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of five chapbooks, Paper, Cotton, Leather, and Malak. Her poetry has appeared in Cream City Review, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, Hotel Amerika, The Pinch, and other journals. Her prose has appeared in Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, South Loop Review, Fourteen Hills, The Collagist, and other journals. She is co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.