The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jennifer Militello’s “Phobia”


I cannot choose. The world is too old.
On my knees before the first leaves to open.

I listen at the gaps in the floorboards
for someone who is listening for me,

but all I find is a death that looks like
the seed for something soft.

I remember rooms speaking back and forth.

I barely eat for fear of poison.
Species of homicide catch in my throat.

Into somewhere all the channels
are slipping, the near migration and the voice.

I only understand pain by what peels
from me when the heat is too much,

as if when the wind came for the pines
I called it good, I called it a form

of cathedral. I say no to a house
made mostly of eaves: no one

lives there. The wind lets no one in.


This selection is from Jennifer Militello’s book Body Thesaurus, available from Tupelo PressPurchase your copy here!


Jennifer Militello is the author of Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named a finalist for the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award by Marilyn Hacker, Flinch of Song (Tupelo Press, 2009), winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award, and the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The North American Review, The Paris Review, and Best New Poets 2008.

Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Stirring: A Literary Collection, Gutter Eloquence, Arts & Letters, Redactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.


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