Three Poems by Jasper Kennedy

How to Be Alone

If I was a betting woman I’d lay my
money down that you are the kind of boy
with a syringe and knife emoji in his
Instagram bio trailing numeric string,
but I’m not a woman and I’m too broke
to bet a goddamn thing, yet certainty is
a crop you can sow and reap and savor
like the distance from face to fingertip or
widow’s peak to the state line or roman
candle to patron saint, and I am content
for now with the residue of canned
rosé and a good water-based lube drying
on my bedsheets. Maybe no man is an
island, but some queers are peninsulas.



“When the revolution comes, ur first on
guillotine duty,” she texts me in jest,
and I am no pacifist, but I do not have
the stomach for decapitation, can barely
watch when they skin the cadaver
in anatomy lab, can only stand to look
once mountaintop has been bulldozed off
into uncanny valley, overburden now
a pink expanse of muscle and nerve
hills rolling gentle over organs below.
I do not know what this says about me
besides that I am capable of misjudging
value beyond what I can strip like coal
from a seam or coins from empty pockets.


Moonlight Wasting Syndrome 

It rains for days, frigid, umbrella-inverting nonsense,
and all I can think about is how I want a honeymoon palsy.
I want my cuffs so tight they give me a wrist drop.
I want to put my queer shoulder to the wheel until
it pops from its hull like a black walnut under a truck tire.
I want to be something interesting to look at.
When the pansies withdraw into the earth I want to go too,
want their stems to braid into my brachial plexus.
I want the neophyte physicians to look at the fibrous
semilunes on my chest and the mercury glass shells
around my muscles, and I want to be already dead
when the anatomist says “In a real body, everything is softer.”
I want to be dead when they call my skinned
and gutted remains “she” anyway, toss handfuls
of fat into the tissue bin, discuss whether, knowing
what they know, they would donate their bodies.
And when they are done, they’ll have to give me back,
deliver me belly up on a river bed, drunk on formalin
and choking on pomegranate seeds. “See you next fall.” 


Jasper Kennedy is a medical student by day. Their work has been published in Screen Door Review, Rogue Agent, The New Southern Fugitives, and others. You can find them any given morning snuggling their cats in a blanket cocoon.