Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 48
spring equinox, 2023

Featured artwork, Elephant 1, by Neila Mezynski

New Works

Jessica Purdy

Essex Serpent

There, I held you in the lake as you fell asleep against my legs. You had armor on. I could see the skin at the base of your neck. I picked at a scar there. We spun around in the water the way one can in the water. You, weightless but pulling. Me, dizzy and watching the waves churn. One of the water splashes became a hand waving. At me. I reached for it, pulled it towards me. It was our son. I hadn't met him before, but knew it was our son by the shape of his lips. As if I had nursed him as a baby. We spun around and around. You said to him, "Did they give you legs?" He couldn't get out of the water. I was both myself and him at the same time. The only being I wasn't, was you. And you left me in the water. My legs behind me. Useless. Glad I didn't have to get out of the water. Didn't want you to see my legs. I stayed there, hovering, held up by my arms on the shore like the first amphibian, and watched you go.

lover lover over and over

this morning of the sixth day of illness there's so much I'm missing and this bird outside singing lover lover over and over and I don't know who is singing it sighing it like we can just repeat ourselves replicate in terms of devotion of nest building of songs that flirt or warn or chide when all night the rain poured onto my floor as I slept and fever sweat poured out of my body into cotton nightclothes and I dreamed of recliners and cars parked just so others could inch by and one driver decided she'd make the others wait and wait and she didn't care and dug in her heels and the recliner was also a vehicle and I decided I didn't want to listen to that woman in the dream anymore and woke up to this bird I can't name by its song all this emerging I'm missing this warmth the kind that's new in April and haven't I seen this green before this winging past my window this daytime moon and nights of rain and still what wouldn't I have had I not been through it the days marked by hyping and dancing and shouting where is that bird I can only hear I look to the trees and the sun glares off the windows clouds cover over this haze in a fevered mind forgetting what it's like to notice the feathers that make me want to be a better person loss of taste and smell but still there's a feeling of smell a sweetness on the part of the tongue that lets you know you're still in a world you can recognize despite the losses

Jessica Purdy is the author of STARLAND and Sleep in a Strange House, both released by Nixes Mate in 2017 and 2018. Sleep in a Strange House was a finalist for the NH Literary Award for poetry. She is also the author of the chapbooks Learning the Names (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and The Adorable Knife (forthcoming in the summer from Grey Book Press). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems have appeared in many journals including Menacing Hedge, Feral, The Night Heron Barks, Radar, SoFloPoJo, Harpy Hybrid, Lily Poetry Review, One Art, Poemeleon and Museum of Americana. She is poetry editor for the anthology, Ten Piscataqua Writers. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaPurdy123 and her website: jessicapurdy.com.