Terrible Music

Chessy Normile

I misunderstood what kind of boat party we'd been invited to.You were screaming in your sleep beside me,thrashing like a dead sharkheld in the arms of a living man.You were both the shark and the man, which impressed me.My dreams don't scare me like that anymore.Sweating, you wokeand walked swiftly off the deck.Time passed until, over salmon,I got to congratulate uson our perceived humanity.Agreeing heartily, you pouredchampagne into a flute and I was like,He just ruined that flute.You proceeded to play the most terrible music.Love hath made me stupid.I should've thought,This guy is a terrible musician, shut it down,but instead I becamea shallow bowl of strawberry milkriding a fictional boat through a very real storm.Anyway, after the terrible concert and the great sex it was morningand in the kitchen you noticed a paper bag folded in on itself,a spoon cracked with white yogurt lying on top.Because of my knack for espionagewhat you didn't notice was me,seated in the corner like a chair.I watched you find the spoon,break it apart from the table,and lift it up to the light.You stood still, gentle as a rocksinking to the bottom of a lake, and I thought,When we die, may that someone lift us purposefully as that.May they consider us a little then decidewe are suited to our death before they let us go.

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Chessy Normile received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets University Prize in 2018. Her poems appear in NarrativejubilatThe Journalpoets.org, and elsewhere. She lives in New York. 

Number 35

Amherst, Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Executive Editor
Dara Wier

Caryl Pagel, Emily Pettit

Managing Editor
Halie Theoharides

From the first issue onward, jubilat has aimed to publish not only the best in contemporary American poetry, but to place it alongside a varied selection of reprints, found pieces, lyric prose, art, and interviews with poets and other artists. Rather than section off these varieties of work, the magazine creates a dialogue that showcases the beauty and strangeness of the ordinary, and how experiments with language and image speak in a compelling way about who we are.

Response to jubilat has been overwhelming. Work from recent issues has been selected for inclusion in Best American Poetry ; The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and; and five times for reprint in Harper’s magazine. The magazine has also been featured in Poets & Writers, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and was shown in the New York Public Library’s 2002 exhibit New American Literary Magazines.

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