The National Poetry Review

Jenna Bazzell


Let them line me.
How this reminds me of them,
for moments my daughters, the babies lost as they laid
beneath me. There was nothing, and then

the girls. In their beginning,
the imprints, the swollen flesh, the curve

of the moon, the air smelling of pine pitch and aluminum.

Everything was killed that December: thorn
vines and dry cane reeds.

Winter. Ice lined limbs like smoke

through the lungs. They were drowned to death,
umbilical cord severed dripping, then

drawn back out again.


It was not your fault. Mother, you listened

but only heard the sound of water. Even though

I wasn’t alive then, I want to take them from you
the way their bodies
fell like pear slices from a knife, the way
the woods sighed open, each leaf, each needle.
You only exist in my dreams, in a field.

I want to find a way to you, but instead
I split the air, offer you half a breath—our bodies

as white as violets, and ask what could

make the moon’s lye-colored light rise up through your feet?

You strike at nothing.

You turn from all of this. From me,
from the moon.

And I want to go back. I want to stay,
there in that field, as we were, hung

and not moving: your body,

a hook; my body, a loop.

JENNA BAZZELL received her MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She won the 2015 Everett Southwest Literary Award, the 2010 AWP Intro Journal Award for her poem “Wet Field,” and has received two Honorable Mentions from the Academy of American Poets Prize for her poems “Into the Damp Woods” and “Drought.” Her poems have appeared in Passages North, Cream City Review, Fifth Wednesday, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Madrid, Naugatuck River Review, Southern Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Sou’wester. Jenna is an adjunct instructor at Harrisburg Area Community College and Reading Area Community College in Pennsylvania.