Jen Rouse, “Abandon”

orange line


She is losing
a slipper—
moon blue in the
icy night. How it holds
still to the curve
of her heel,
how it won’t
quite let go.

This space
of not having lost
but of losing.

It is like a constant
catch in your throat,
like being cocooned
alive, so many millions
of silken threads
tightening slowly and
only a slight hole for air.

To breathe just shallowly enough.

And she is flying
into the trees
bareback on a unicorn,
some kind of abandon.
She wears a green
dress with daisies
in this
halo of
Wouldn’t you?
Wear your green dress?
Close your mouth
all the slippers fell out?
If you knew
what was coming next?



Jen Rouse works as a consulting librarian at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Hot Tin Roof, Poetry, Poet Lore, MadHatLit, and elsewhere. Her play, For the Care and Control of the Insane, was performed in the Underground New Play Festival at Theatre Cedar Rapids this past winter. She was recently named a finalist in the Split Lip Livershot Memoir Contest.


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