Skewering Me

My eye popped out and is looking around the streets of Portland,

    anxious to meet other eyes who are artists.


My torso walked off to arrive early for a job interview

    with serious writers wrapped in sticky literary networks.


The hair on my entire body is now a ball rolling around Dallas,

    looking for adventure.


My right index finger is scratching the backs of students,

    when it should be updating the course schedule.


My amygdala is sitting in the fruit basket pouting

    that it still gets angry when it could choose freedom.


I need to be put back together again.

    Help me dump the pieces in the laundry basket or


Fragments, find your way to my bin of giveaway books.

    Let us make a kebob out of these pieces of me.

I wrote this poem in the spring of 2016 when my husband and I were deciding which city to focus our job search. We had wanted to leave Lynchburg for about two years (we were both unhappy with our jobs), and by this time, we had narrowed down the search to a few “blue” southern cities and artist-friendly cities out West.

Needless to say, I felt like I was being pulled into many different directions, and as the poems describes, many different parts. It was fun to consider what my body parts would be doing if they had arrived in luggage, popped out, and arrived in a new town. Writing it felt silly, which allowed me to let go, and helped me understand that even when I feel fragmented, I can ask for help from other artists.

I can still feel whole or well even if skewered and in bits.

In the tradition of Whitman and Olds, I am a poet of the body. This poem reminds me that I should keep this body strong, since it is the main vessel in which I create.

May it continue.

Jess Brophy is a poet and teaching artist. The universe is giving her wings and she is envisioning a new life outside of the Academy where she can freely and gratefully share her emotions and love of the human voice with young poets in public schools. She has published scholarship on the poetry of Sharon Olds, Rita Dove, Jean Toomer, and Paulette Childress White. Her interview with poet Toi Derricotte will appear soon in The African American Review. Her poetry has appeared in "Natural Bridge: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry", "Alimentum: The Literature of Food", "Awakenings Review", and is forthcoming in a special anthology of body poems published by Blue Lyra. Her first poetry chapbook, "The Paper Girl", is being published by Finishing Line Press this summer. Click here to purchase it or read the reviews.

Her most recent and heart-driven contribution is as writing consultant to young professional women at She currently lives in Lynchburg, Virginia with her husband Tj, and can be reached at