Below, you will find a sample of my essays, poems, posts, and live readings.
“[W]ith each passing month, as my stomach expanded, my name seemed to contract, shrinking away from me little by little. For everyone who called me “Jess,” there was an equal number of folks calling me “mom-to-be. . .”
“Rolled between her fingers
like a dirty penny,
the gobbet was flung
to the mud and flies.
She went about her business—
getting to the meat. . . .”
“What they don’t tell you about becoming a mother is that it can take a while before you realize that you’ve become a mother. . . .”
“If you cut a cauliflower in half? You still have a cauliflower. In fact, if you were to break a cauliflower into a thousand tiny florets, you would have a thousand tiny cauliflowers. The cauliflower is self-similar. A cloud, too, is self-similar — billows upon billows upon billows. A nautilus shell is self-similar, its chambers growing smaller and smaller as they spiral toward an impossibly small central room. Fractal geometry gathers to itself the objects that defy tidy Euclidean geometry, with its circles, cones, and squares. It welcomes what is deemed chaos, even as it catalogs chaos’s graceful patterns. . . .”
“Pain hollows you out. At one time, my life was a series of typical ups and downs, the rolling hills of family drama or social pursuits. Then pain came in torrents, forming a valley, then a canyon between my child, my marriage, my career, and me. I can cling to the austere cliffside of pain with nothing but the cold caress of self-purity to comfort me. But most days, I take the drugs. I get in the yellow canoe and let it float downriver, where I meet my life on the distant shore. . . .”
“I remember piling into the back of my mom’s car on Sundays, the one we called “The Bomb,” its ceiling peeling in sun-bleached strips, its busted seats covered in an old rug. If my sisters and I could, please, please contain ourselves in church, she would treat us to a late breakfast at Roy Rogers. I remember the luxurious crunch of French toast sticks as my mom sipped quietly from a paper coffee cup. . . .”
“Watch as the children swarm the VTech activity table. Watch as the children bash the VTech activity table with a xylophone hammer. Watch as the children bash each other with a xylophone hammer. Watch as hair is pulled. Watch as a cheek is scratched. Watch as Cheerios are stolen. Watch as baby gates are scaled. Watch as tears are shed. Watch as snot flows like a deep, slow-moving river of toddler grief. Simply watch. Because this is the natural order of things. Because this is the jungle. . . .”
“Some weeks get the better of you: The kid gets sick. You get sick. Deadlines pile up. Bills pile up. You want something, badly, but you don’t get it. You fear that something terrible will happen, and somehow you believe the fear itself is a talisman against that terrible thing, but it is not. . . .”
“When my son loves something, he loves it immediately and abundantly. One of my greatest pleasures is watching other people react to my son’s greeting: He beams. He sometimes belts out a spirited ‘Ayyyy!’ like a tiny Fonz. He waves — not just a hand, but his whole arm. And if the object of his affection doesn’t wave back, he waves both arms, just in case there is a failure to understand how waving works. Often, mid-wave, he’ll crane his neck around to look at me, as if to say, Do you see what I’m seeing? Isn’t it amazing? This, right here, is my absolute favorite thing. . . .