Two Poems

Jessica Goodfellow

The Fold

In origami the mountain fold
folds down–constructing
an obstacle. The valley fold
folds up: receptacle.
The difference between
structure and stricture,
between paperweight
and wastepaper basket.

My family is silent
about our dead. Hardly
a word about an uncle,
a brother. We children were
to understand that meant:
he was beloved.
Silence as receptacle.

A paper creased
in mountain fold
can be turned upside down—
voilà! valley fold.
And all our dead tucked
safely inside. Save the one
whose body’s lost
on the mountain,
the obstacle,
with which I have
confused the silence,
the absence.

Mountain, valley:
it is a matter
of which side you are on,
and if you have no body—
no matter—
you are on neither side.
You are the fold,
the stylus of silence
on which hinges both
our Cartesian cathedral
and the vertex of our vortex.

Chasm and scaffold,
cornice and crevasse,
the steep pitch of life
and its inverse, its obverse.
Observe, mortals:
the edge. Welcome
to our fold.


Theories of Flow

The brain, Aristotle ruled,
was a system meant to cool
the heart. Hot heart.

Neuroscientists now name
the yawn a way to cool
the brain. Hot brain.

The words for birth
and life and death
end each in the rushing

sound of air pushed through
the mouth’s constriction
breath. Hot breath.

The word breath too
ends in that voiceless noise,
the unforgiving friction

fired between a body
and the air that it requires.
Body hot. Then not.


Art by Evie Lovett

Jessica Goodfellow’s  first book of poetry, THE INSOMNIAC’S WEATHER REPORT, won the Three Candles Press First Book Prize, and was reissued by Isobar Press in 2014. Her second book, MENDELEEV’S MANDALA (2015) is available from Mayapple Press. Her latest, WHITEOUT (2017) is out from the University of Alaska Press, and was completed while she was a writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve.

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