For I was mud and you were the face
pressed to mine, making me in your image.
When I was a furnacing fever, you were a dousing river.
I, word-hunger and you, the book by heart.
I, new blooming; you, pages of my pressed petals.
And when I was ambition, you were the open hand,
guiding, supporting, letting me go.

Now, when you are faltered, I am the hand
guiding, supporting, promising
not to let go. Your memories, blossoms
browning on the vine, your tongue hungry
for right words, I am the book of your life, offering you
back to you. You furnace with fear; I am the river
to calm your feet in. And when, one day, you
finally rest, I will be the face
that keeps your face in the world.





Jessica Jacobs is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen and Goldie Awards, and Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press), winner of the New Mexico Book Award and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She serves as Chapbook Editor for Beloit Poetry Journal and lives in Asheville, NC, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, with whom she co-authored Write It! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire (Spruce Books/Penguin Random House). Her collection of poems in conversation with the Book of Genesis will be out from Four Way Books in 2024.

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