—for Jennifer Wrisley, 1980-2010
Is it wrong to say I’ll mourn you forever?
I mistakenly name my reflection “Jennie”
and it somehow sticks, like I’m a toddler
giving labels to the oddities of my surroundings
and nobody’s there to correct me.
“Jennie” I say, two bloodshot eyes staring,
wildness in the hair, palms pressed flat
on the surface of the vanity.
For a moment it’s unclear
whether I’m saying it, the person
I know myself to be, or Jennie is saying it,
the one in front of me,
speaker of her own name, adventurer
who’s finally discovered the canyon’s edge
and screams into its open mouth.
Colin Pope’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2012, Slate, New York Quarterly, Harpur Palate, and The Los Angeles Review, among others. He was the 2011-12 Clark Writer-in-Residence at Texas State University, where he teaches in the English Department.