Jennifer L Freed

Axe ®

You can’t tell me
more, but you want me to see
if I can build you a poem
on the scent
of a young man’s body-spray.

I won’t ask
for concrete.

We’ve worked
for this
              me, letting go
                         of my need 
                                   to know,   

               you, trusting me
                         to let you 

What I’ve gleaned
               is that you were in middle school.

               That the boy was from our town.

               That you had to sit near him
               all through tenth grade.

And now,
from your college dorm,
you text me:

               Of all the things in the world
               for me to be afraid of,
               this scent…

I imagine
               your breath, catching and

               A passing waft of a boy’s body-spray, cutting
               through time, and you
                         caught off guard,
                                   into a well.

               You, talking yourself back (get a grip, get a grip)
                pulling yourself up,
                                    over hand.      

JENNIFER L FREED’s poetry appears/is forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Rust and Moth, West Trestle Review, and others. Her first full-length collection, When Light Shifts, was a 2022 finalist for the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize. Awards include the 2022 Frank O’Hara Prize and the 2020 Samuel Washington Allen Prize. She teaches writing programs from Massachusetts.

Read more by Jennifer L Freed

Jennifer L Freed’s author website
Poems in Atticus Review
Poems in Rust and Moth
Poems in One Art Poetry