JD Debris

Aparecida, Early Spring

A long exhale at the end
of a hyperventilating season.

All winter nothing touched
my neck except the clenched,

manic teeth of the electric razor,
the beachwind’s salt. Marvin Hagler,

my home state’s fiercest fighter,
a man so mean they say hair

feared his sweat-gleamed skull,
is gone. I’ve mimicked his ritual:

mornings, breathless, sprinting the hill.
A sea & continent apart, your curls

are on my mind. By the logic
& legend of that bald, fallen

boxer, your curls mean mercy,
are wild & fertile

as these blossoms blindsiding
New England spring—vines

around a cello’s neck, its body split,
a beehive inside. I dreamt we kissed

so slow it was like breathing
for the first time.



Aparecida, Early Summer

Listen: I want the shore to speak for me,
& it can’t. A knot of seaweed, snarled
as a ratking, refuses to beach,
instead bobbing on the mirrored

black tide. An open sore
of rust on the overlook’s bench
frames a bronze memorial for a scorpio
born two days before me, her French

name festering in metal. From the arcade,
an organ spins its arpeggios a hundred years
into the past while a half-remembered
woman by the wharf takes off her shades

& squints toward Misery Islands.
Fishing boats drift directionless
as the peeling gauze of clouds. I trust myself
less than I trust these eventual rhythms

of return, the every-morning birdsongs
from your far-off fire escape.
All I feel today is featherlight & wrong—
your single finger down my vertebrae.



JD Debris writes poems, songs, and prose. He was a Goldwater Fellow at New York University, where he completed his MFA. His work has been chosen for Ploughshares' Emerging Writers Prize, and he has twice been named to Narrative's 30 Below 30 list. His releases include The Scorpion's Question Mark (Autumn House Press, 2023), winner of the 2022 Donald Justice Prize, the chapbook Sparring (Salem State University Press, 2018) and the music albums Black Market Organs (Simple Truth Records, 2017) and JD Debris Murder Club (2022).