Jeanne Henry




Maybe because I stopped

watering my houseplants

& let decay grow around me.


A happy man on the subway said

he’d pray for me

& I said no.


I don’t know what it was

that he saw: some deviled sadness

or an unloved angle of my spine.


The only god I’ve ever believed

in is New York City

& for that—apologies.


I was raised this way,

& it has cost years I can’t count

& if I am winning the war, I never really know.


I once believed my god

was only & best

& was able to love back.


This, despite lives robbed,

starving children

& a trembling city morphing in ash.


I believed my god

gave me what I deserved

& home & purpose & hope.


I am told my mom was a catholic

good enough for church

& for that—apologies.


I worry about my ability

to grow dumb and cruel

under this God’s altar.


So I said to my God: No.

No, I can’t love another

indifferent winter as a practice in patience.


I can’t swim in a self-important meeting

announcing I’ve fucked someone

I don’t remember.


This city is so strange

& impossible to hold & fully know

like any wholesome lover craves.


Maybe because I once believed

love only meant stay, I said to my god,

No, I absolutely can’t love you.


Jeanne Henry is a New York City-based Poet. Her work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Banango Street, The Found Poetry Review and other literary journals. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @papermaw.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *