Jessica Piazza





Fear of loneliness or of being oneself


Hi I. Hi me, on this, a birthday. Hi, 

internal eye of this year's storm. Hello 

you: point without an exclamation. Wave 

a single hand, then wave the other, pair 

them off. A sacrifice concise as this: 

pity your pity today, and let it lie. 

An alibi for a scoffing enemy. 

Myself, and my most toxic company: 

myself. These withered candles leak their wax. 

What could these last wet decades turn, and wane. 

Picture me, today, as a metronome. 

I'm home, away, one way, the next, and strike 

each hour, and strike again, a single tone, 

one arm, one fist. Alone, exalt, against. 




Fear of drafts, air swallowing, or airborne noxious substances


Clipper of breath, ship-bound, I sail with it

and let it fill me in. There's nothing here,

without, that harms within. Drink in the draft.

Whistle through my chewed up pen cap—nearly

fume, almost contaminant: as near

a version of us touching lips we'll share

again. You think it's chilly, friend? Just wait

until the porch breeze rushes through the gate

I've built around the bed. You'll shiver then,

because my shivers ceased. No, I can't foul

your nervous lungs, and no, I'll never own

an arsenal so pathological

it spoils the air. If what you fear is true,

the poison in the atmosphere is you.