Heather Laurel Jensen

A Flight Of Directionless Birds Outside the Jimmy John’s

red neon vinaigrette our bodies drenched
and spooned out like a hollow baby bird
seeping all burgundy and seedy your face
the cold damp of a cave but any architect
would swear there are no bones beneath
your skin only catacombs of flesh soft

and wanting i cannot forget our tongues
like unsweetened milk staining the inside
of a glass measuring cup i am unaware
of many things like how to buy gasoline
and which way the grain of your skin flows

the girl who told me about her first pubic hair
is no longer my friend i wonder if she knows
that now i only feel sad loitering outside
sandwich shops remembering your voice

and the sadness packed between each word
like gauze after oral surgery sometimes
i ask for forgiveness other times i only beg

and sure, i look stupid, with my map upsidedown
and everything i love tied to my shoulders,

but i’d gamble away most things in a jimmy john’s sandwich
to argue with you, over and over, sweetly, gently, sadly.



Origin Story

originally, violence came from fingers or teeth
and that was good enough for them. they had no
newfangled inventions like ditches and cars. no
sharpened blades or pressurized bullets. they fought
with their bodies like harpoons. when i look at you,
i wish it was that easy. wish our poems broke fingers,
not hearts; wish i could prove myself with a hunt,
with predation, with carbon dating and real dating and
the way my teeth look. you know, most normal exes
would say i miss you, or i’m sorry, or
nothing at all. but we keep crossing the lines,
i mean snarling and biting and everything in between.
i keep shredding my nails with all my digging
into old text messages. i keep grinding my teeth
into nubs each time a friend asks how you’re doing.
i keep losing my ability to defend myself from the sound
of your breathing. in the beginning, baby, there was god
and violence and love, and they existed together
out of necessity. next time, baby, if you want to kill me,
just kill me. next time, baby, if you want to switch sides,
disengage, swipe open the mouse and stitch it up again,
just kill me. next time, baby, i’m sorry, i miss you,
nothing at all.



Heather Laurel Jensen is a junior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ, who trusts poetry’s power to create community and connection. She believes the accessibility of poetry enables understanding, empathy, and reconciliation in the midst of conflict. She is co-president of Young Authors of Arizona, an art and writing nonprofit that provides teenagers with publication opportunities and an extensive creative community. Heather is also president and founder of her school’s poetry club, which competed in state finals in the Louder Than A Bomb Arizona Poetry Festival, where she won two individual awards for her poetry.