It’s Not Your Fault

The brass lamp in your window,
warm honey heat humming
in the frozen prairie February dawn
when everything’s a stone of cold,
may have yoo-hooed at the hobo
teetering on his tattooed lip of
murder, but it didn’t open the
door. It’s a lamp. It’s handless.

Sudden nosebleeds know no
source upriver in your heart, your
intent, your languagelessness,
poor thing. What ding-dong
draws hearts on a platelet bag?
That bitter bitty in a backbend lies
to her lies ad infinitum. Loveless.
Swats bats with a squash racquet.
Would you believe, with a blush
like that, she’s 100 years old?

You never ate cancer berries
sleepwalking in the pantry
or sunk your hand into a sack
of endometriosis flour. Never.
Gene champion, that goon
over there gargles 409 and tacks,
and he sleeps like the biggest
baby ever—big as a runaway
parade balloon.



The New York Times Book Review said Jennifer L. Knox‘s new book, Days of Shame and Failure, “hits, with deceptive ease, all the poetic marks a reader could want: intellectual curiosity, emotional impact, beautiful language, surprising revelation and arresting imagery.” Jennifer is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series and in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. She teaches at Iowa State University and is the curator of the Iowa Bird of Mouth project.



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