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Jodi Balas

Sonnet for Emily Dickinson

In the absence of an alarm, there are

the birds & in the absence of the birds,

there are the sirens & the city clamor

wailing then stretching its jaws—that

despite its inception, only continues for

so long before it becomes a routine—& this

isn’t to say that this is how I’ve envisioned

myself—past or present, to be carving masks

underneath melodic hymns, too cumbrous,

too aware, or otherwise about the score

the body holds, like the Hermit—cloaked

with the Seal of Solomon inside his lantern,

before combusting underneath the metered

sky—bruised or otherwise.


She is the origin, the scar— holding the macrocosm between

her legs / Hecate reincarnate if you will it hard enough,

she becomes the magician, the queen of swords. Her body

is a labyrinth of haze—the inebriation of light in dark matter.

She offers up her skirt, her sleeve—a trick, a cheap talisman—

Pitches you the moon & a way out then envelopes you in

words that smolder, curving off the roof of her tongue, still

producing the right amount of heat to make your veins flush

with fever—leaving you stoned and at a crossroads. Your Achilles

heel is coded in the echoes of smoke that rise and fall between us.


Searching for innovative ways of how poetry can be curated, Jodi Balas is an "ever-evolving" neurodiverse poet who uses a variety of methods to expand her craft. Her work has been accepted in Ghost City Review, Wild Roof Journal, The Willawaw Journal, Grand Little Things, Local Gems Press and elsewhere. She has been a poetry session leader for The Think Center in Wilkes Barre, PA.


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