Poems By Jen Dunford-Roskos


glammed up with sparkly purple laces
glistening in patent shimmer
hey were knives in arches and calves
but i wore them to be cool

laced to stagger dance halls of
illegal lofts or dimly-lit poetry reads
tender footed ache endured
deadened by another puff

when i left him by bus
they were laid
alongside three duffle bags
shuffled between two cities
laces tied together in hangman noose


canvas shoes not enough
walking city streets in search of scratch and
redemptive numb they began to
crack around the toes
and when came thaw they’d become
a part of my body

they crumbled holes that show my sock
around the big toe at either side
twelve years wore the soles smooth
tractionless –
shit slides off them easily

i prefer them now
weather-beaten duct-taped
without a glimpse of painful newness.

By Jen Dunford-Roskos


burn her daddy’s house

what if juliet had woke up in that tomb
found romeo dead and just walked away?
shrugging it off as a case of teenage lust

she was free, after all in the tomb
family thought she was dead,
cancelled the arranged marriage, rented out her room

she’d stow away on ship bound for the orient
don a kimono, smoke opium,
learn the art of massage from geisha girls

come back years later in dragon mask
creep like a mouse, burn her daddy’s house
go down on sweet sweet nurse, break capulet curse

By Jen Dunford-Roskos