9.12 / December 2014


I was waiting for the end, and when it didn’t come
I took up crochet. I wove a blanket
of steel wool I kept in the den
to warm my enemy
who any day might show up on my stoop
asking to spend the night. I smelled him
dislodge from his corner
like a seed pod, slouch toward me longing
to grow. I emptied my house of all objects—
every magazine, pillbox and mirror—
in the front yard
piled them and posted a sign,
Take what you want. I painted silver
my body, went nude through town
until I reached the square, where I stood
still like a statue. And all my tips
I gave to the poor
pin-striped businessmen, who blew
past en route to the train. The best tip I ever got
was from an old lady who
told me, Smile,
your breasts are as firm
as they’ll ever be.

Jen DeGregorio's poetry has earned a Pushcart Prize nomination and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Academy of American Poets' college prize program. She teaches at Hunter College in New York, where she received her MFA in creative writing, and at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
9.12 / December 2014