A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Jenna Cardinale


Living Fossil


Sword-tailed and askew. Staying
primarily shallow. All those eyes
at the bubbling edge. Everything
encircling the heart-mouth. Even
after the blood harvest. These
limbs won’t fail forever. No
phantoms here.




Inside, a Slim Fit


I wish a wand was what
a bow is called. Open-
mouthed and heavy-

Writhe or die.
Will it! Right.

What parts of us can become
unhinged. What are the old
mechanics of acceptance.





All We Wanted Was Ours


A wet mouth fills
up with dust.

               All of my purchases.

Our political tragedies
are often discussed.

                       I promise I won’t get upset about it.

The strategy of violence.
Fuck her. His

       Maybe nothing just falls.

I don’t buy it.
Where. Is there
a video of it.



 I want to tell you it's the hot sauce I bought in New Orleans that was stolen by the TSA, but I'm trying to let it go. When I was nine, I visited the Statue of Liberty and bought a tiny replica for my grandmother. It wasn't green, just cheap brown metal and marbled plastic. She was born in Brooklyn 90 years ago to immigrants, but never visited that other island. She kept the figurine on her dresser for decades.

Jenna Cardinale writes poems. Some of them appear in Verse Daily, Pith, Across the Margin, Luna Luna Magazine, and the HIV Here + Now Project. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she co-curates the mostly-monthly poetry series Readings in Color.