1 poem

by Jennifer Sperry Steinorth


I knew a woman whose eye was plucked days after birth.
Small river wailing.

Ointment then, that lubricant, to keep gauze from sticking.

One half blind at birth. One half to see what blinded.
See future blindings.

I know a woman whose eye, good, was taken
in adolescence. Just
before the first blood, just after.

The lids, yes, were drawn carefully back, the scoop— clean
and sharp. Was it of love she was redesigned,
to better vessel love?

A girl stands in a river waist deep, washing.
Even a girl knows rippling, a rippling please.

I knew a woman just before she wed.

I confess, I do not see how removal of an eye…
Call me blind.

Eye that sees the certain dark. Night, a dilated pupil.
Wherein the chasm trembles. Wherein a death so slow
she’d weep to bear it again.

I am lying.

I do not know if I have ever known
such a woman. How could I know. Even if I could make her shiver,
make her moan, the tongue has been cut out

that would speak of what she knows.

I knew a woman. I knew.
On her wedding day, like any other,
she smiled from ear to ear.

"Eye" was noted as Honorable Mention for our 2017 Up North Poetry Prize.

IMG_20180404_004234_071 (1).jpg

Jennifer Sperry Steinorth


Jennifer Sperry Steinorth is a poet, educator, collaborative artist, and licensed builder living in northern Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in Alaska Quarterly, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Colorado Review, Four Way Review, The Journal, jubilat, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finch, Quarterly West and elsewhere. She has received grants from the Sewanee Writers Conference, The Vermont Studio Center, Warren Wilson College whence an MFA in poetry, and The Bear River Writers Conference.  In 2016 she was the Writers@Work Poetry Fellow and won The Connecticut River Review Poetry Prize. Her website is https://www.jennifersperrysteinorth.com/