The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jennifer Perrine’s “No Confession, No Mass”


A Theory of Violence

— for Ciudad Juárez

I march to a slow, careful beat:
the pace of my heart, each harsh leap.
Let the sun-warmed bricks burn my feet.

Here, where death and silence repeat,
the day goes slack— time crawls, I creep,
I march to a slow, careful beat

over stone, sand, broken concrete,
past mouths pressed shut, secrets they keep.
Let the sun-warmed bricks burn my feet.

My skin flares red. The monstrous heat
lifts fine blisters that burst and weep.
I march to a slow, careful beat.

The path will never be complete,
for we have sown. Now we will reap.
Let the sun-warmed bricks burn my feet.

At night, I sweat through my thin sheet,
dream each step. Even while I sleep,
I march to a slow, careful beat,
let the sun-warmed bricks burn my feet.


This selection comes from Jennifer Perrine’s collection No Confession, No Mass, available from University of Nebraska Press. Purchase your copy here!

Jennifer Perrine is an associate professor of English and directs the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Drake University. Perrine is the author of In the Human Zoo, recipient of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, and The Body Is No Machine, winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.


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