How We Came Ashore / Lesley Jenike
dancing girl press, 2013
Lesley Jenike is Associate Professor of English at the Columbus College of Art and Design where she is also currently serving as Head of the English and Philosophy Department. She received her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University in 2003 and a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 2008. She’s the author of Ghost of Fashion (CW Books, 2009) and chapbooks Folly Garden (Gold Wake Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared or will appear soon in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Southern Review, Sou’wester, Blackbird, Verse, Rattle, POOL, Tampa Review, The Birmingham Poetry Review, and other journals. She has received an Academy of American Poets Prize, and fellowships and scholarships from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, The Ohio Arts Council, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her second full-length collection of poems HOLY ISLAND will be published by Gold Wake Press in 2014.
The thrill of this island isn’t its brittle stab at the conclusive; joy
is magic. Joy is the elusive. An illusive, I know no better trick
than furtive cool air up from the sea, warm air trapped on land:
a ploy for vanishing the definitive, for veiling, as a hand is veiled
by the periphery before a slap, the cliffs you and I climb to watch
whatever ship I choose to sink. Cloud-shaped, my eyes. Hands,
your incentive. Have you noticed, forced through time, how light
refracts our prison’s limits and curving back proves the sky again?
Fog is the island’s pall. Every morning wed, by afternoon at the sun-
given reception, the island strips its daze and swoons like a virgin.
We give us to us, you and I. At the brink of every morning we walk
as brides on stone to our shell altar, and say, I do, I do to each other.