Jennifer Jackson Berry
About the Writer
Jennifer Jackson Berry’s first full length collection The Feeder is available from YesYes Books. Her newest poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Duende, Poet Lore, SiDEKiCK Literary Journal, Stirring, and The Indianola Review. She is the Editor of Pittsburgh Poetry Review and an Assistant Editor for WomenArts Quarterly Journal. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a proud member of the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops.
Plastic Easter eggs strewn across a lawn barren
but blades of grass.
(Kids too young to have them really hidden.)
The one pregnant with her rainbow baby smokes one
after the other—
her husband dances and rubs his belly like he’s due.
I walk across the lawn dropping
my own eggs
no one opens them they are sealed
no one eats them (the green ring has spread)
She goes inside to pee after picking up the snuffed out stub.
My husband sits on a retaining wall holding back.
My water has never broken.
Nothing has arced from my body’s mist.
No one finds my eggs— they
on the way back up to my arms.
The Xmas Joke
This will happen at my brother’s house
& on the way home
I’ll have to pull over at the first stop sign
& switch seats so my husband can drive
because I’m shaking.
I’ll think it’s just a stocking for the dog
but then I’ll see a silver bone charm
on a different stocking & really count
how many are hanging there.
two parents three kids one dog &
Someone else will notice too & ask.
I’ll know my face is close
to betraying me. I’ll hear my sister-in-law
tell my brother to wake up they’re asking
about the stocking. He’ll roust from his post-turkey nap:
we wondered how long it would take
for you to notice.
I won’t expect this.
This will be December.
This won’t be the April 1st minefield
of fake sonogram pictures.
Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night
With the same headache I’ll have in the car.
This is them finding a soft red boot
from probably her single days
bottom of a box of decorations
from an apartment before marriage before kids.
This is them trying to recreate
the surprise the three times they announced
then laugh at dropped jaws.
I won’t expect this.
But they aren’t expecting just a joke they’ll say.
Each year I think about decorating again
like i used to but I won’t.
The only way I’ll touch a child’s stocking this year
or any year is when I sneak into their house
& steal the extra one they found.
I’ll put it on my foot
& kick & kick & kick
To the Dude Who Said My Poems Are Just a Lot of Talk about a Dead Baby
To the same dude who said he is ambivalent about disrespect:
Re: you getting to my reading five minutes late &
being surprised I had started already:
I’ve heard you read at open mic