“The Fault Along the Floor” and “White Pocahontas”
Jennifer Reeser, poet, critic, and a translator of French and Russian literature
The Fault Along the Floor
- The fault along the floor between these molten beds
- which we have made, to unmake, and in which we must
- lie still until the quake has passed us, and a gust
- from unknown quarters brings together our two heads —
- this fault is strange and terrifying as it threads
- along. And I — left in the lurch of it, nonplussed —
- am learning for the first time how to re-adjust,
- and watching in astonishment while havoc spreads.
- I am the virgin gazing down a crack’s abyss
- at suffocated lovers’ dead, abandoned faces.
- This Hollywood phenomenon is wholly new,
- envisioning myself so lifeless, come to this.
- Preposterous, I find myself here, of all places:
- the worst of nightmares that I know — but home, to you.
- Their jaws will drop, I know, as in we walk
- and there will be no peace until we leave —
- but life lasts merely moments. Let them talk,
- for later on will come my calm reprieve.
- Their heads will turn, I know, as we walk in.
- The maitre d’ will seat us, while they mumble.
- but beauty will not stay, so let them spin.
- I’ll bow my head, as penitent and humble
- as I know how to be. What they don’t know;
- What, darling, they don’t understand, I do.
- They see me as the redskin, mixed-breed doe,
- though what these wealthy patrons want is you.
- My native name — bizarre to them as Greek —
- these cowboys covet, but they never speak.
Jennifer Reeser is a poet, critic, and a translator of French and Russian literature.
Her most recent book is a novel-in-verse, The Lalaurie Horror (Saint James Infirmary, 2013).