By Gwendolyn Jensen


Lint that lines my winter pockets settles

soft the pennies there; my far-off womb

remembers its confinement; violet fish—

suspended, drowsy, netted hearts—drift

their walls of glass; stars unfurl a long-

dead fire, better than no fire at all;

the lacquered billiard ball’s unconscious of

its color as it rolls; earth may be

some other planet’s hell.


I have made of these a rosary,

and sit and hum and push the beads along

for commonness and gaiety, for matter

of another sort.




Gwendolyn Jensen began writing poems when she retired in 2001 from the presidency of Wilson College (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania). The places where her work has appeared include the Beloit Poetry Journal, the Harvard Review, Salamander, Sanskrit, and Measure. Her first book (Birthright, Birch Brook Press, 2011) is a letterpress edition, now in its second printing. Her second book (As if toward Beauty also Birch Brook Press) was published in 2015. Her third book (also published by Birch Brook Press) is Graceful Ghost, a letterpress edition that will appear late in 2017 or early in 2018. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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