Denise Jarrott
Doomsday Book
next to a river that seems too dangerous to encounter the afternoon
leisure town watching water watching
rocks Joshua with a bag of cherries
a book of chance
a red dog with like human eyes

automatic, someone releases his rope,

automatic it makes a sound (a gunshot, only softer than a gunshot should be)

a woman next to me jumps,
looks behind her
puts her arm around her child

this is the punctuated future
this little lightning pole this bare
wire in us all is all

​this is the anxious currency of
the world this is the hollow ritual we live by
she lives by:

I used to live by the moon

I used to live by a lake

            I used to live by the ocean
            when I was ill “

a red balloon made me cry when I was little
when I was a child
when I was a child

I was a child

I had a body it was hungry and blue

they held a vigil. I gave
a coin to a child
when the child was hungry
the other child beat him but who
could blame him for he was hungry
so hungry no coin to eat no mouth

do not give

hold on,

leave a space before you enter

​the face of man with like dog eyes dog teeth

would I be sure of anything enough to say yes in the muzzle of gun, of

I have nothing to give and that’s why I’m offering it to you.
I don’t know how to beg.
I want to know how
to beg for anything

I want to know what it is to love anything that much.

​            Today I met a child who could only see out of one eye, only loved
that eye today I met a dog with only one eye today I met a man
who did not know colors they seemed to know they seemed to love more

how do we keep it
what if we forget it

today I learned colombe means dove.
a dove I saw that day in May. a dove not of return
but of arrival: New York the color of a dove
Colorado the
color of old iron
Iowa the color of skin with blood in it
Oregon so green it hurt me over and over again

I can only see through a hole in my face.
I am only known by a name.

Denise Jarrott grew up in Iowa and currently lives in Colorado. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Burnside Review, The Volta, Bat City Review, Cut Bank, small po{r}tions, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of the chapbook Nine Elegies, forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.