Chiaroscuro in Valletta, by Jennifer A. Reimer

Mark 6: 14—29
–after Caravaggio

The Beheading of St John the Baptist (Caravaggio)

Ask me. For anything: lightdark
dance deep down
dungeon dragged, need.

Measure me: volume of hip, hair
my soft shade—your hard
a kingdom for one un-
          crossed heart—

She: turns blood to dirt: she
turns and turns and—
          ask me for anything

Break light
into shadow break
gradiate me, murky

hold me to promise
          hold me—red—
tight take me—tell me
          how tenebroso
will tell



Jennifer A. Reimer, lecturer in the English department at San Jose State University this fall, received her PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011, and her MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco in 2005. She is the 2011 winner of the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award for Independent Scholars, awarded by the Women’s Committee of the American Studies Association.  In addition to over a decade of experience mentoring and teaching students, Jennifer has numerous scholarly and creative publications. Her first prose poetry book, The Rainy Season Diaries, was released in 2013 by Quale Press. The Turkish translation of The Rainy Season Diaries was released by Şiirden Press in 2017. She is the co-founder and co-editor of Achiote Press, an independent press dedicated to spotlighting underrepresented authors and artists.  After 5 years living overseas, Jennifer now lives in El Cerrito, CA.

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