Jazz De Nero


When they moved to the island
they hoped it would fix them,
heal their button-pushing fingers,
their electric fence embraces,

The relationship was a sign that read
Accident Free for __ days,
that reset every morning to zero.

For a time, the only time
they’d hold each other
was when they’d hold the other
back from swinging their arms,
an embrace of restraint.

She wished she could sharpen
the bones in her face
when he got too close,

When the blade of his neck
smelled of tea tree oil
and saxophone reeds.

Every morning out their window,
haenyeo dove for pink conch
past the stone walls
made from the spit of volcanoes.

Boats in the distance slowly
disappeared, like a week-old
bruise, as they made their way
towards another small island
much greener than theirs.

That summer the fog
clung to the mountain.
The tiny island trembled.
The neighbors closed their windows,
invested in orange noise-
canceling headphones.

The typhoon winds would whip
the shoji doors closed with a bang,
till they were so dashed to bits
all the fog would get in the house.


She heard screaming when she woke.
It was frantic season; everyone trying
to find an uninterrupted shining place.

After one million marsh letters,
peat drawings dripping with green
slime and mire in her mail slot,
here he was on her doorstep,
unripe in morning light,

A brisant presence, something
either spot-on or completely off,
based on the amount of glass
that wound up in your pocket,

His arms gingerly outstretched
like a drunk magician, she took him
to all their favorite places, the tea
house down the street, he always
liked their little sandwiches, dry
ciabatta on his webbed tongue.

He ordered an earthquake to estrange
his shaking bones and she fanned
his hand away when he tried to pay
with a few yellow teeth,

Like the first time she found him,
buying Walden from a street vendor,
trying his best to use wet lilacs
as a form of currency, then, defeated,
with a red slab of meat.

Together, they used to gather glass bottles
to break in the unfed swimming pool,
and he’d tell her tales of being stranded
by calamity, and what seawater
feels like, filling up a hollow spine.

She began looking at holes differently.
She had dated a siren, a sea monster,
one ghost with a deranged pantie
fetish, but this, this one was different,
a drenched avalanche.

Though, apart from his tender swamp
letters, now he only came over to sleep.
She’d bring him to the blow-up plastic
kiddie pool on the roof of her apartment,
and by morning he’d be ready,
all misty and budding.

She’d palm him a note that read,
YOU CAN’T. He’d nod and clods
would shake out of his turf. His face
all grassy and lush, his wake,
a trail of bog and sea moss,
as he slicked away, ruddy and blooming.

JAZZ DE NERO is a poet and artist living in Buffalo, NY. Her work has appeared in BlaveVOX, Ghost City Review and Peach Mag.


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