SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Ode to Error

             “ … Whatever

            mistakes we make, we will become what we are

            because of our blunders.”

                        Dorianne Laux “Zulu, Indiana (An Ode to the Internet)”


O stirrup pants, o acid-washed jeans, o single

black lace glove and rubber bracelets. Forgive me,

but you were mistakes, all of you,

you and the thigh-ripped-open jeans

I criss-crossed with skate laces. O big hair,

o green eye shadow, o hanging out on the beach

drinking ill-gotten Bartles & Jaymes and letting JP

of the fake ID unlace me and feed me

vodka-spiked watermelon

and slide his fingers inside me.

O dark parking lot, o end of the lane.

O you missteps, you well-practiced mistakes,

you paving of my crooked road. Fender-bender

in the McDonald’s parking lot

on the way home from Great America

because I was too impatient

to wipe the steam from the back window.

The ride I hitched with those guys

who turned out to be high

and on shore leave. O narrow escapes.

That haircut sophomore year.

That blue Prom dress. Jellies.

Not going to Homecoming with G

because nice guys scared me

more than JP and his Alabama Slammers.

O grapefruit diet, o Jane Fonda’s Workout, o beginning

of erasure. Daisy Dukes and ankle boots,

D+ in calculus, girl sitting in the back row

chewing her hair. O child, o paving stone,

o boat somebody else rowed. Off-the-shoulder

sweatshirts, “Let’s Get Physical,” o parachute pants—

the kind that were so easy to slip out of.

Jennifer Saunders is a poet living in German-speaking Switzerland. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Housewife, was selected by Gail Wronsky as the winner of the 2017 Clockwise Chapbook Competition and is forthcoming from Tebot Bach Press. Her work has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, SpillwayThe Shallow Ends, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Jennifer holds an MFA from Pacific University and in the winters she teaches skating in a hockey school.

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