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POETRY
The Two Jennifers
Jennifer Jean
Writer of the Month

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I would’ve
stuck that taxi driver in the neck
with a pen 

when he drove me & this other Jennifer in circles
circles in Newark, NJ. Our destination
was a minute’s drive, & 
he idled at a dark dead end, & 

this other car pulled up
at an angle behind us, so 

I aimed
my red pen & spoke,   

You will not

get a thing for this ride!

“You’re ok, you’re ok,” he chattered & hid
his face. He
drove then & stopped a block from our poetry 

festival, a block from some cops
we would not talk to. 

Good Jennifer handed him a ten, hopped out
her side. I just
swung my door, paused & snarled,
Sure—Fine.


That’s how this Dodge 

Festival began. It ended
with Marilyn, Marie, & Tracy
in a semi-circle on stage, 
musing
on poems like Muriel Rukeyser’s Silence
Is Become
Speech.

“Write what you won’t
say,” Marie said. “Don’t kill
your mother,” Marilyn said. “We will write,” 

Tracy said, “the violence.” 
Because Muriel entreated, “If not I, 
if not you?” Then I 

left them all— 
tearing up, 
I left the other Jennifer, 

left with my pen. Like I’d write
myself out of the story. 
Like I’d choke
on every woman that breathed before 

me, force them down.


Jennifer Jean’s debut poetry collection is The Fool (Big Table 2013). Her new manuscript, titled OBJECT, was a finalist for the 2016 Green Mountains Review Book Prize. She is the recipient of Waxwing Journal’s first annual Good Bones Prize, and she received an Ambassador for Peace Award in 2013 for her activism in the arts. Jennifer’s work has appeared in: Crab Creek Review, Rattle, Denver Quarterly, Mud City Journal, Solstice Magazine, and more. She’s Poetry Editor of The Mom Egg Review, Managing Editor of Talking Writing Magazine, and Co-director of Morning Garden Artists Retreats. Jennifer teaches Free2Write poetry workshops to trauma survivors and to sex-trafficking survivors. For more information, visit: www.fishwifetales.com - or follow Jennifer on Twitter and Instagram: @fishwifetales