The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Bath by Jen Silverman

This selection, chosen by guest editor Katie Manning, is from Bath by Jen Silverman, released by Driftwood Press in 2022.

Bath 9

(New Mexico)

Mud that will rebuild your bones. Iron
richer than blood. Yellow phosphorous to

give new light to your limbs, your loins.
All signs say: NO NUDITY. There is a limit

to the fountain of youth.
We have driven for miles

past billboards starring Jesus:
a reminder of His imminent return.

You are hungover; I am bruised; the wind
flakes like mica, our skins glitter,

our hair is jeweled with sand. We made
such grand promises. But here

we are, limping toward a new persuasion.
We have so many forgivenesses to beg.

I lower myself into a steam-choked pool.
You ask

do I feel good / do I feel strange / has anything changed.
The sky is a hot blue arc.

The dust is all dust, a living chronicle of
what falls apart, and why, and how quickly.

Feeling each bone separate a little, each muscle unstring
I tell you that it all feels different, this time,

this time,
in time, we will be new.

Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer and playwright. Jen is the author of the debut novel We Play Ourselves and the story collection The Island Dwellers (Random House) which was longlisted for a PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Additional work has appeared in Vogue, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Sun, and elsewhere. Jen’s plays have been produced across the United States and internationally. Jen is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, a member of New Dramatists, and the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, the Yale Drama Series Award, and a Playwrights of New York Fellowship. Jen also writes for TV and film.

Katie Manning is the author of Hereverent (Agape Editions), Tasty Other (winner of the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award), and six chapbook collections, including How to Play (Louisiana Literature Press) and 28,065 Nights (River Glass Books). Her poem “What to Expect” was featured on the Poetry Unbound podcast, and her poems have appeared in HAD, Poet Lore, SWWIM, Stirring, Thimble, Verse Daily, and many other venues. Katie is the founder and editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University.


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