All in by Jen Rouse

by Jen Rouse

The beveled mirrors hold
you open to the sky. Reglazed
and lit to dazzle. Sometimes
I am waltzing with you
there. Your wig elaborate
and winged with birds.
The woman in the painting
next door runs through
the pasture wild, unbridled. How
I always want you this way.
Gleaming teeth, eyes that spark
and gallop. We are in worlds split,
untimed, and tragic. So stop
tapping at the glass because I
cannot take you. I raise my hand
to touch your hand to still you there.
(Oh the tapping.) We look beside
ourselves, and I become your
mouth moving so quickly, and you
become my finger against these lips.
The carousel keeps us fixed in place.
I want to tell you this thing about
the way you dance inside me. 
Endless. The circles. No sound.


Jen Rouse is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Gulf Stream, Parentheses, Cleaver, Up the Staircase, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. Rouse is a two-time finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize. Headmistress Press has published her books Acid and Tender, CAKE, and Riding with Anne Sexton. Find her at and on Twitter @jrouse.