Jennifer Yaros


I've been branded, my eyes destroyed,
but the marks left don't identify an owner,
except that of pity and hate. I admit:
Sometimes pity and hate own me.

I often sit – with those staring – burning
in the broad brightness of day. I wonder if they, too,
can see the flames still writhing on my face,
can smell thick gray smoke seeping from nose
and mouth, shadowy ghosts coiling skyward.

The times when I'm free, I remember –
the foggy gloss of cherry wax coating my
sister's lips before bed; the translucent
blue of cool pool water that dried my skin
along with the sun; the silky color of my own
black hair, on my head, between my legs.

Most people don't understand this darkness,
like trying to imagine the pure silence of the moon.

What I want to escape is this pitch universe
that doesn't contain a single star, where, really,
I'm floating, stranded, left with the reality that I didn't
memorize everything, that I'm missing
inches of my own face. That I'm missing.


Jennifer Yaros received her M.A. in Liberal Studies, Concentration: English, from Valparaiso University in Indiana, and currently teaches high school English. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in various literary publications, including Etchings, Plath Profiles (Volumes 1, 2 and 4), Stickman Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others. In addition, one of her poems was published in Their Buoyant Bodies Respond, a chapbook published in 2010 by the Inglis House Poetry Workshop.