"Note Pinned to My Chart" by Jennifer Saunders

Note Pinned to My Chart%2FEmma Wollenweber.JPG

Note Pinned to My Chart

They’re all self-inflicted.
See the blisters
from the too-high heels,
see how I stumble
and scrape my knees.
I can’t fry eggplant
without olive oil
spattering my arms,
still I cook naked
beneath my apron.
I can’t debone a chicken
without drawing blood,
can’t peel a potato
without leaving behind
a layer of my own skin.
But lock the knife drawer
and I’ll pry apart scissors,
I’ll fish out the corkscrew
to core apples
as well as my palm.
Flowing blood
washes a wound
but every tourniquet
I’ve ever applied
I’ve bound too tight,
has purpled my limbs
under pressure.
The balance between release
and restraint
was never my strong suit,
which slash to bandage
and which to let breathe —
an open question.
You could dress this wound
by what shines from it:
the sequins on my dress,
the frost moon,
your watch face reflecting
the streetlight back at me
and whispering something
about whetting the blade.

* The lines “You could dress this wound / by what shines from it” are taken from The Beauty of the Husband by Anne Carson.

author photo Saunders.png

jennifer saunders

Jennifer Saunders is a poet currently living in German-speaking Switzerland. Her poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Dunes Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Spillway, The Shallow Ends, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Housewife, was selected by Gail Wronsky as the winner of the 2017 Clockwise Chapbook Contest and will be published by Tebot Bach Press in Spring 2019. She holds an MFA from Pacific University and, in the winters, teaches skating at a hockey school.

Photo Credit: Emma Wollenweber