Two Poems (Jenna Jaco)


There are three outfits I own in which I can easily imagine
Flirting Respectfully With AOC, and this is one of them.

I will not describe these outfits to preserve the veil of the unknown
and also so you don’t copy me.

This one, though, invokes a chance encounter 
at a museum, or maybe a book signing (not hers, something
stupid). I would not say “Oh my God, it’s you,”
or quote that Representative Yoho soundbite so popular lately.
In fact I would talk not about her nor me but some
third thing, the book, the art, and I would wow her 
saying something insightful but also provocative, provocative
in the brain kind of way, not in the way I’ve been told
my shoulders are, and they are, in this outfit.

In my bookstore-museum vision, I peacock
a little, make her laugh, mostly not stare at her mouth–
another reason I would need that third thing. I would 
speak slowly, examining brush strokes or the persian cat
on the cover of a cozy mystery. What trouble he has gotten into!

Anyway I cuff the sleeves. I can tell you that much. Today I,
and more specifically my peeking bicep, manifest being wanted
in that oblique kind of way, a music video, not a concert, the glance 
through the trees, orbit that enjoys itself, the blink away, the drift back.

OooOOOoOoOooOoo girl (crooned at a stranger)

the night at the wedding when she asks what are you??,
exasperated, dancing on me to the last song, i consider:

  • the vibes i must give off
  • the number of times people have thought this but not asked
  • the way my fuzzy skull must look like it feels
    • calico critter
    • halloween decoration
    • soft anarchy
  • the sex magma flowing down my hips! cowabunga!
  • more realistically, leaning in close and throwing back a classic line
    • whatever you want me to be, baby
    • an experience
    • your worst nightmare
    • the last thing you see before you die
  • most realistically, i am not a murderer
  • so maybe just putting my finger in my mouth
  • batting my eyelashes, shooing confetti her way 
    • there was no confetti
    • confetti is another word for vibes?
  • demonstrating the choreography to [REDACTED] because i have played the youtube tutorial seventy times and can almost do it

but settle for shaking my bald fool head, tilting it back,
looking at her down my jaw and enjoying being in my own video
where only flattering shades of light hit only flattering planes of my face,
where i take the bridge like you’ve never heard before.


Jenna Jaco lives in Austin, Texas, where she creates increasingly unmarketable content. Their recent and forthcoming publications include poems in an Animal Crossing zine ( and a Harry Styles anthology (You Flower/You Feast) plus some asemic texts in Anamorphoseis Magazine. She works as a technical writer and recently completed a master’s degree in information science.


image: Susan Gutterman