I wanted to be dazzling,

like Venus in the late June sky,

glittering gold in the evening,

named after beauty personified—

and now I am twenty-five

and all the things in the poems make sense

and all the songs too

and everyone just gets better and better

at lying

including myself,

so good, I don’t even know

when I am telling the truth


© Alexandra Jema


I stopped smoking and I stopped eating

so the skin on my chest stretched thin

I watched my heart bob up and down, trying to count the beats per minute

thinking I had palpitations

but I guess when you are young and empty and full of possibilities

it is only your heart keeping you afloat


© Alexandra Jema

strawberry moon

under the low-hanging yellow gloom of the June moon I entered my twenty-fourth year. is it a secret that we age? everyone whispers not to ask but I tell them with pride—I fought the numbers until now. I fought the panic until now. and this morning as the sun yawned itself awake it seemed like the world opened up to me, petals unfurling, unveiling the stamen. ten years ago I couldn’t tell you how I might have hoped to feel—and now feeling in itself is so divine. I use every pore to soak in the life around me, the life that has been conjured from thin air: a tapestry of memories and the threads weaving into themselves like wanton vines, like a storyteller who is saying the words as the story happens. that is me: the storyteller with her words and her dresses, living a cynical fairytale, writing ugly poetry, dancing.


© Alexandra Jema