Ya’ll, I’m super excited to feature this next artist. Not only is she a beautiful writer, and a wonderful person, but the poetry she sent me is some of the most sensual, melodic, and moving work I’ve read in a while (AND anyone who knows my novels, knows I have a particular longing in my heart for Mainers). Please enjoy and feel free to share!
Our beloved poet, Jennifer Lockwood George comes to us from the coast of Maine, where she teaches writing to college freshmen who live in little Zoom boxes with their names in the corners. She graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine in 2019. Her work has appeared in The Kankakee Daily Journal, Muse, Stonecoast Review, and The Ginger Collect. Her novella was published serially in The Silver Pen’s Youth Imagination online literary magazine. She has also been a guest writer on the Celebrities in Disgrace blog.
And Then Nothing Happened
You pretended your English was terrible.
You asked me to stay
to sort out your syntax,
to smooth your eager consonants
and soften the accent
that told stories you would never pronounce.
I would not correct the music that came from your lips.
You wanted me to turn grammar into an aria.
You leaned closer as I sang each conjugation.
I pretended I wouldn’t give my right arm
to hear you play the piano,
but I could have spent forever watching you
coax desire from ivory and wood.
I wanted to hear you recite Lizst
with your eyes closed,
tilting your chin upward in rapture
tightening your jaw at the climax,
rosé wine tinting your cheeks at the final decrescendo.
You taught me scales and finger positions.
We were forbidden liquor; neither of us would drink.
You called my name as I left your studio.
My coat was on.
You offered me wine.
The notes you poured flowed over the piano keys
and onto the floor, flooding the room,
rising from my feet,
to my ankles, then my knees.
My vision blurred.
My coat became a drunkard’s snare,
my purse strap a bond I could not escape.
I fought against your concerto,
fought not to sway
fought not to dive into the flow
fought not to ask you to pour more.
I could not reach the door;
Music’s brazen kiss had backed me against the wall—
Until your fingers collapsed on themselves
and you forgot how the rest of the song went.
Your cheeks were pink.
I forgot to breathe.
I almost recited the entire thesaurus for you.