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


Is it like peeling ginger root skin with a spoon,

the sadness for losing something you did not want?


Is it what coats the fingers when you squeeze a lemon?


What language exists for replacing existing emptiness

with a new emptiness that mourns in spite of you?


I think the root should be Latin; Latin loves quiet turmoil

and linden leaf tea. Latin feels appropriately weighty.


Can it have two suffixes, for the sake of accuracy?


Truth is I’ve never wanted a baby and, despite this sadness,

I still don’t want one; all this emotion feels wasteful.


I cook large dinners and insist on smoked sea salt,

as if I weren’t shedding a tear or two over the saucepan.


What is the clinical term for when you don't have a potato peeler

so you use a paring knife, and no matter how good you are, you lose a little potato?  

              and if you’re not very good, you lose the entire potato.

Jeni De La O is an Afro-Cuban poet and storyteller living in Detroit. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian, York Literary Review, Really System, Gigantic Sequins, Eastern Iowa Review, Rigorous Magazine, and others. Jeni founded Relato:Detroit, the nation’s first bilingual community storytelling event, which seeks to bridge linguistics divides through story. She is a Poetry Editor for Rockvale Review and organizes Poems in the Park, an acoustic reading series based in Detroit.


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