The author of Negrophobia has run off 

with my Marxist roommate, but it's fine.  


I have a drawer full of money, 

crumpled like pleasant grasshoppers.


Strangers give it to me all night long

for delivering duck and describing wine


I have tasted only once. My feet hurt

& this apartment overlooks odd prospects. 


Matzoh dust adorns the air, emitting

from a small factory you can stick your


face partway into through a grate.

Hasidic boys don’t flirt back. Shiksaphobia


Sometimes after 2 o'clock,

walking home from the restaurant,


heroin dealers murmur Deathtrap

to me and I say no no nope


but accidentally bought crack 

once from the candy store. 


They wouldn’t take it back. 

There was a time when love or idiocy or economy


felt like a form of improvisation,

a dance led by nature, eyes closed,


like submission to a mad maestro.

It's after the end of the world,


said Sun Ra, but mine was just starting up.

The essence of nature is process, said John Farris, 


who memorized the I Ching in the clink.

Here he comes now, limping slow,


pointing his cane, interpreting the signs, 

satire & elegy fluttering up from his coat. 


Soon you will teach him to ride a bike 

& his friend will throw your cat out the window.


Do these anarchists think 

history is moving forward?


With them time stands still. 

Some languages have no tense for the future.


Sparrows and pigeons will crash into my fire escape. 

Peregrines will circle the towers


& there will be a miniature hummingbird

orbiting rare peonies in Central Park


so small and still you will peer across 

at the stoned soul you came here with


and wonder if it’s real. Later that night, 

buy a ticket & the maestro will raise his baton,


magnetizing an orchestra of improvisers,

dubbing it conduction when despite notation


he sets them free. 

Could I synchronize with anything 


seize liberty so suddenly

many doors open to the primus?


Maybe being that young was history’s idea

and those dirty twenties and twisted fifties


were my nature cracked in fragments,

concealing itself like that bird.


Jenny (Seymore) Montgomery has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Barrow Street, Tar River, CALYX, Unsplendid, the New York Times, and the Cairo Times. Her poetry installations have been shown at galleries in Montana and Washington. She resides in Missoula, Montana where she owns a distillery with her husband. Her poem, “The Privative Alpha,” was a finalist for the 2017 Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry, judged by Myung Mi Kim. Her poem “Proofed” was runner-up for the 2017 Brittany Noakes Award judged by Sandra Beasley.