Song of Embodied Cognition and Paper Nautilus: Two New Poems From Jen Rouse


Song of Embodied Cognition
Remarkably, you
have the ability to
at once feel and
ignore the way
we are here.

Two centers of
impact—hunt
and disconnect.
You cannot hold,
carry, or comfort.

I understand the
floor of the sea
suits you.  I send
down these missives
carved in sand—

ghost crabs
lost in the moon
pools, the tide
marking its spot

like I used to claim
my place on your
skin.  I remember

everything. But the
deep brain of my
tongue refuses now

the words to say 
I miss you.
Paper Nautilus

rare Argonaut // hero
and ship queen of
the ocean // delicate drifter
coated in the unpredictable
// shell //
when I blow against
your softness
// yolk// an accordion of silence
the way your eyes open //
close // against me
so much art inside
and warm // stroke
back and collect // your
loyal // snap off an arm full
of sperm // I will watch
you cry so many times
//disaster// and whisper you
and name you
//disassembler of gods

Jen Rouse is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College. Her poems have appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Poetry, Gulf Stream, Parentheses, Cleaver, Up the Staircase, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. Rouse is a two-time finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize with Headmistress Press. Her first chapbook with HP is Acid and Tender, and her recently released book is CAKE. She has a micro chap with The Poetry Annals entitled Before Vanishing. And her chapbook Riding with Anne Sexton is out from Bone & Ink Press in collaboration with dancing girl press. Find her at jen-rouse.com and on Twitter @jrouse.


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