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



I imagined you would come as ocean,
iridescent bouquets of open shells—

how you’d drape me in curtains of kelp, sparks
of sand flaming on my skin— but I know

now how I swam to your shore, breath beating
in the creel of my lungs. My thighs still shed

scales, hyaline windows through which you peer,
on which you raise tongues of steam. In the dark,

you sneak fingers to those deep green slivers.
I move in the shelter of your dry land.


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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