Jendi Reiter - 2012 Orange Monkey Poem Contest Finalist

Deep Sister

The greater souls of the animals in our dreams
may be unknown to us:
the spoon-eared hare,
leaping from brush to vanish
fast as a memory of God,
flees the wolf, not childhood
stories of the wolf
heard under pillows soft as a rabbit's belly.
And the stag, its slow gaze undisturbed
as a virgin's ear,
must be unaware its head will hang
over a hearth where men argue about Spirit,
or appear in the whitest midnight of a man who kneels
in too many sewers, the Hornèd God forgiving
his hated cock, father's image, his punishment.
No, they tread with us
this brief path of hunger and scent,
the snake with no knowledge
that walls declare gardens,
the blank-eyed dove picking among the graves.
But that night in a loft by the sea
when your lover, like a whale
gliding through shoals, returned
in huge slow waves something
of what your father stole,
did not a deep sister
thrum harmony, on her descent
to the salt-washed floor of the world?

Jendi Reiter is the author of the poetry collections A Talent for Sadness (Turning Point Books, 2003), Swallow (Amsterdam Press, 2009), and Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). Awards include a 2010 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists' Grant for Poetry, the 2012 Betsy Colquitt Award for Poetry from Descant magazine, the 2011 James Knudsen Editor's Prize in Fiction from Bayou Magazine, the 2011 OSA Enizagam Award for Fiction, the 2010 Anderbo Poetry Prize, and second prize in the 2010 Iowa Review Awards for Fiction. She is the editor of, an online resource site for creative writers. Visit her blog at