[from L’Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems]

To avoid Jack when he’s sad—
what he indulgently calls “the blues”—
I say, You’re catastrophizing again,

a word I learned from his therapist.
It’s part of the new cruelty.

Jack quote-unquotes Emerson:
Truth is shrill as a fife. I’m sure
Emerson hated women.

I’m unsure of the verb:
Have I wifed Jack
or is Jack wifing me?

I revive an old shirt
that shows off my clavicle.
Vanity is my last vanity,

and I reserve the right
to wear lipstick in the house
and smear it on the cups.

Here everything is admissible,
my silence as weaponry,
my too much perfume.

13 Notes on The End co-authored by Kathleen Rooney

When you get to the end of a story, they say, it should feel both surprising and inevitable, but mostly, it should feel like an end.

Twenty-five minutes of footage, unseen for 80 years—even if you rediscover it, the film won’t have an end.

I know now I never really loved you. Still, I didn’t want our love to end.

Everyone aims for the heart of the city, so I try to aim for where the city reaches its end.

Nothing happened “before” time began, and nothing will happen after it ends.

Sometimes I wish I lived infinity miles away from all other human beings, at the end of a road that was literally never-ending.

As your editor, I don’t like your book, but I do want to know how it ends.

I bought you a present wrapped in silver paper, wrapped in brown paper, wrapped in tissue paper, wrapped in—you see where this is going? It doesn’t end.

You’re only scared of death because—and this isn’t very Buddhist—you think of death as the end.

You could launch a new technology and change the world forever, except maybe a new change would take place and the change you wrought would end.

This is the end, my friends. But I’m hoping we can still be friends.

Turning on all the lights in the apartment can be a wasteful comfort, but one day we’ll run out of electricity and even that comfort will end.

If everything is determined, then it might as well happen backwards, which means this isn’t really the end.

Elisa Gabbert is the author of The Self Unstable (Black Ocean) and The French Exit (Birds LLC). Follow her on Twitter at @egabbert.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her most recent book is the novel O, Democracy!. Follow her @KathleenMRooney.

:: more from this issue ::

Silver and Song

Rijn Collins


Paul Guest

Sticky Notes

Eric Hawthorn

Icarus: looking back

Pratyusha Prakash

Diminishing Catholocism

Nonnie Augustine

Two Poems

Elisa Gabbert