November 4, 2016

Jennifer Jean

#CARRYTHATWEIGHT

Columbia senior Emma Sulkowicz has been hauling her own dorm mattress around campus every day [because] the student she says raped her is still free to attend the school without formal consequences.
—Slate

My mom was broken by five
or six guys one dawn before I was born.
So that’s gotta be the weight of
a king. & she carries that. Carried that
right past the Hollywood police station on Burbank around noon.
I consider carrying our queen-sized around our apartment
like those “Students for Emma!” from around the globe.
But I’m just a weaker
upper body.
I take on my daughter’s futon.
My mom got it for her at Ikea. It’s a lightweight.
& the idea
is to lug it for about an hour. At home.
Write as I go. Some kind of science, some kind of art.
In order
to relate.
My daughter moves stuffed dogs & pigs off her quilt,
helps me slide the pony-colored twin onto my spine.
She makes me a tortoise.
She takes pictures, Smile. Smile.
Smile. I don’t
think I can bear it a minute. It’s hers.
My daughter’s, my mother’s, all
the grand hers.
& I won’t
where I teach. I teach
so I’d mulled hauling it to the University. But
taking on a big thing like that? Sweating, bending
under that?
You know what lives under a bed.
All the weight
of my frame thumps the ground in the kitchen
as I dump the thing,
hard. My daughter rolls on it, giggles. My pen’s gone, &
my mom was broken by five
or six guys one dawn before I was born.

from Rattle #53, Fall 2016
Tribute to Adjuncts

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Jennifer Jean was featured in a conversation in this issue. (website)