Ja’net Danielo


I was searching for the metaphor—something about
tumor as bird or star, or the space between bones,
breath. Interstitium. Didn’t scientists call this
a new organ, this thing that’s always been
beneath the skin, holding us together? I wandered
through your rooms, stumbled upon an overturned
chair in the kitchen, an overturned miniature chair
on the dresser—microcosm inside a microcosm.
I lost myself in laundry, in the sketch of a buck
on the wall, in fat yellow flowers on red wallpaper.
I thought about night, about wind, how today,
I called my co-workers unimaginative. I tried to imagine
you, to close my eyes & see your imprint behind
my lids, your mottled specks & blotches. When my
vitreous detached, my eye lit up with flash. For months,
a blurred spot floated back & forth across my retina. It
reminded me of you.




Hard animal
tissue, tusk.
substance. From
the Old English
ban, archaic
usage: to curse,
followed by
the Old Norse
been, as in past
participle of be,
as in to exist, occur,
occupy a place
according to
my doctor, where
is most likely
to happen or
occur again or
occupy a space
not in any way
related to arm
or eye, foot
or tooth, which
shares its root
with dandelion,
from the French
dent de lion, which
literally means
lion’s tooth for its
toothed leaves,
folk name: tell-time,
for the custom of
blowing its white
seed, the number
of puffs
to the number
of the hour,
correspond meaning
to come together &
respond. After they
hollowed out
my cousin’s bone,
the doctors said
she had just
four weeks left
to live. I struggle
to trace form
& sense. What is
four weeks?
How many puffs
of a dandelion
spore is that?



Ja'net Danielo is the author of This Body I Have Tried to Write, winner of the MAYDAY 2022 Poetry Micro Chapbook Editors' Choice Award, and The Song of Our Disappearing (Paper Nautilus, 2021). A recipient of a Courage to Write Grant from the de Groot Foundation, a Professional Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council for Long Beach, and the Telluride Institute's Fischer Prize, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, Mid-American Review, GASHER, Radar Poetry, and In the Tempered Dark: Contemporary Poets Transcending Elegy (Black Lawrence Press, 2024), among other places. Originally from Queens, NY, Ja'net teaches at Cerritos College and lives in Long Beach, CA, where she facilitates Word Women: Poetry Heals, a free virtual poetry workshop series for cancer patients and survivors. You can find her at www.jdanielo.com