Cardamom and cinnamon
and orange zest
and eggs. Will you take
this church made
of cake?

The soft whoosh and clack
of contorting merino
from needle to needle.  Cast
to bind.  My warmth
through your winter.

One is the serpent,
which has its poison
according to two

If you
are beside me.  I am.
the parting
of hands.  Watch
as I spin you
to gold
to dust.

You said:  These words
are beautiful.  I wish
I understood them.

You are them.
Paint on canvas.
I am you.
Brush to lips to forehead.

*Cleopatra, Greek Egyptian alchemist, 3rd Century




JEN ROUSE is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Poet Lore, Midwestern Gothic, Wicked Alice, Parentheses, Yes Poetry, Crab Fat Magazine, Up the Staircase, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She was named a finalist for the Mississippi Review 2018 Prize Issue and was the winner of the 2017 Gulf Stream Summer Contest Issue. Rouse’s chapbook, Acid and Tender, was a finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize and published in 2016 by Headmistress Press. Riding with Anne Sexton, Rouse’s second book, is forthcoming from Bone & Ink Press in collaboration with dancing girl press. Her plays have been produced by SPT Theatre Company and Theatre Cedar Rapids. Find her at and on Twitter @jrouse.