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The Lesbian Love-child Of Plath And Sexton: Jacqueline Markowski

October 14, 2009

Not that Ms Markowski is a lesbian, or that lesbians are biologically capable of producing a love-child (though legally they should have every right, but that’s another story), but if Anne Sexton put All [Her] Pretty Ones into Sylvia Plath’s
Bell Jar one drunken night, the nine-month result would likely be something along the lines of Jacqueline’s work. After winning the Sandhills Writers Conference award for best poetry, she went on to publish in such places as the Neo-Victorian, Permafrost, and Chronogram. I’m no literary expert or poetic genius, but I know good writing when I see it, and I’ve seen few use metaphor as successfully or with such layered depth. Check out an example:


Empty Fence


in pretense of patience,
as though the eye
will adjust finally to
the dripping static.
They’ll settle,
I say, in the flavor

of summer. The taller
fence is tired with the repeat
of season. Stained with mossy
streaks of no particular
pattern. Wet, cold, worn
and weathered. The slats bow
outward, urging

away from their supports—born of
a different tree,
a stronger wood. Believing in a better
place (possibly next door) they peel away
like dead, burnt skin; rebelliously
forgotten organ—
obedient to their source, their selves.

The picnic basket’s been
emptied. Stagnant crumbles sat
too long. Patient, muted
thing! I had forgotten
what was on the menu. Scraped rot,

death. No clues
among them. It was a good idea, really—
born of spurts of inspiration—but finally,
lackadaisical neglect.

Jacqueline Markowski

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