Poems / June 12, 2024

Royal Pardon

Jessica Q. Stark

Let me be untranslated matter in this

age of self-declared kings and salesmen—

this court our royal stage. How quiet the

white-hot nimble name, each upload

an upset to mortality’s unimpressed

bibliography. It feels like dead sound

the way you sculpt a lifetime through

good timing, through nobody’s hot

breath. Here lies Antoinette and

a facsimile report on the dearth of

formula water milk toilet paper bread

all gone during a juicy-sesh of self-care

slash thoughts and prayers. Headless,

we got carried away.


We had a lot to do.


While immigrants walked for miles and

immigrants bled hurricanes into boats

and immigrants without power turned

into reams of discount paper at Target’s

Big Blowout Labor Day Sale. Remember

worst nightmares as uncollected social

security? Me neither. I’m trying to save

up enough vacation time to sleep forever,

but a knife’s at my back most days, at the

edge of mother’s maiden name. And

five nights out of seven, my neighbor’s

outside breaking down Amazon boxes

while the cat pleads the fifth,

sleeps ‘til noon.


Surely, you know, sire, I jest. I’m just a

simpleton, a citizen, a sure-bet sidepiece.


All I want is your decent-blooded love.

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Jessica Q. Stark

Jessica Q. Stark is a poet, educator, and editor that lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

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