The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s “Paper, Cotton, Leather”


Failed Bearings

One weekend morning I mark
our woods with a trail while
you’re steeping in the shower.

The trail flails and is a comet,
a centipede curled into his death.
The symmetry is a hive.

As you dry off, I tell you: leave
behind the compass, the barometer,
the metal detector. Figure it out on your own.

I guide you to the trail’s mouth
and fire the emergency kit flare gun.
We needed the dramatic beginning.

My distress signal is a traitor,
listens to itself, pings out, diving
to bury itself in a stack of leaves.

Tapping a fingernail on my father’s
stopwatch hanging from my neck,
I ache for your failure. I refuse you clues.

I await your unsafe return. Without
breakfast, I imagine you hungry and weak.
I believe you’ll eat my patient display.

This selection comes from Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s poetry book Paper, Cotton, Leather, available from Press 53! Purchase your copy here!

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of PaperCottonLeather and four chapbooks. Recent poetry has appeared in Redivider, Eleven Eleven, Thrush Poetry Journal, PANK, Rhino, Sixth Finch, ILK, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, and Poemeleon. Recent prose has appeared in The Rumpus, The Toast, and Delirious Hem. She is co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly and an Associate Professor of English at Kennesaw State University.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of three poetry collections, As We Refer to Our Bodies (2013, 8th House), Temporary Champions (2014, Main Street Rag), and Not For Art For Prayer (2015, 8th House). He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination. He is also a founding editor of Ovenbird Poetry and AltOhio. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.


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