“The Fault Along the Floor” and “White Pocahontas”

Jennifer Reeser, poet, critic, and a translator of French and Russian literature
  • Jennifer Reeser, poet, critic, and a translator of French and Russian literature

The Fault Along the Floor

  • The fault along the floor between these molten beds
  • which we have made, to unmake, and in which we must
  • lie still until the quake has passed us, and a gust
  • from unknown quarters brings together our two heads —
  • this fault is strange and terrifying as it threads
  • along. And I — left in the lurch of it, nonplussed —
  • am learning for the first time how to re-adjust,
  • and watching in astonishment while havoc spreads.
  •  
  • I am the virgin gazing down a crack’s abyss
  • at suffocated lovers’ dead, abandoned faces.
  • This Hollywood phenomenon is wholly new,
  • envisioning myself so lifeless, come to this.
  • Preposterous, I find myself here, of all places:
  • the worst of nightmares that I know — but home, to you.
  •  

White Pocahontas

  • Their jaws will drop, I know, as in we walk
  • and there will be no peace until we leave —
  • but life lasts merely moments. Let them talk,
  • for later on will come my calm reprieve.
  • Their heads will turn, I know, as we walk in.
  • The maitre d’ will seat us, while they mumble.
  • but beauty will not stay, so let them spin.
  • I’ll bow my head, as penitent and humble
  • as I know how to be. What they don’t know;
  • What, darling, they don’t understand, I do.
  • They see me as the redskin, mixed-breed doe,
  • though what these wealthy patrons want is you.
  • My native name — bizarre to them as Greek —
  • these cowboys covet, but they never speak.


Jennifer Reeser is a poet, critic, and a translator of French and Russian literature.

Her most recent book is a novel-in-verse, The Lalaurie Horror (Saint James Infirmary, 2013).

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