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Jane Ann Fuller

Jane Ann Fuller’s debut poetry collection, Half-Life, was published by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions in 2021. Awarded Shenandoah’s James Boatwright III Poetry Prize, her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, The American Journal of Poetry, The MacGuffin, Still, The Ekphrastic Review, PMS&G, Sugar House Review, JMWW, Waccamaw, Northern Appalachia Review, One Art, and elsewhere including the anthologies I Thought I Heard A Cardinal Sing, All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women, Women of Appalachia Project, and Project Hope. Work is forthcoming in Main Street Rag.

When My Sister Writes from Hilo

Her lens captures a wild canary
in such bright grass, this could be Ohio,
in July. Or Pompeii, where ash is suddenly
eight inches of snow. Fruit charred
on the vine, still flesh underneath.
Sisters mid-quarrel. Stopped in time.

Maybe she senses the luminescent
ash that drifts on the air from Kilauea,
the mountain that never stops
erupting from a single vent in the western wall
of Halema’uma’u crater
when she mentions the disappointing

loulu with its squat trunk and seedy fan,
or breadfruit, about the size of a pear,
rough green skin, once the staple there.
She doesn’t name the banyan tree,
that strangler fig whose roots slink down the canopy,
choke its host to walk the earth

like ghosts, to hold them in the photo.
Self-loathing could be comfort sisters wear,
shawled into pinkish evening, the sky behind them burning
off the heat of the earth’s aging body. Imagine holy
manna from heaven, body of christ, this ash
we become. This smudging of sin. This forgiveness.

We Can Share This

I unwrap the butcher paper from the frozen chuck.
I can’t tell ice flakes from wax skin.

When work buries you, I take
your blood pressure—you take

mine—what couples do.
Systolic: the blood’s embrace.

Diastolic: its yield and release,
like the weight of your body lifted

over mine. I don’t know how
to manage a heart that flits

like a bird from a salt marsh. I can’t keep you
safe, your wrist on the table

turned up like sacrifice. I uncuff your arm,
its meat alive, thumping.

We can share this meal
that marinates in tarragon and garlic.

We can eat from this gleaming china,
drink from this crystal cup.

We can watch the tapers as they burn
the dark edges of the world.
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