Jill Khoury


Jewish custom in which one acknowledges anniversary of a death  

I am the last survivor
on an island
baroquely drawn:
savage lilies,
lowland Nepenthes 

If you could peel
back the sky’s layers
of pearlescent
you would see

and dripping 

A phrase in my head,
on repeat :

It took me so long to break
from the undergrowth,            and now
                     and now                        and now


which world do I belong to 



he comes with me to the greenhouse / limpid
a tempest of phonemes bashes my fixed mouth
trauma scenes of liminal worlds, blanked-out girls 

into the forest now
soot covers my eyelids / incognito  

our bootheels grind broken glass
airtight seal disrupted
crumbs of soil swept to the corners
apothecary labels peeling

parasites whirl in the bowl of the ceiling
our own atmosphere decays / placid
it is winter and I can see his steam 

he feeds me mushrooms; I grimace
chew and swallow ; he hands me
her suicide note
his mouth impassive beside wild ivy

I hope you will take the time to read this once your soul is quiet…

It has been four months since she

vines lick in and out the windows
landlocked water still has a tremor

four months to the day

he pinches my wrist
I have no cry left
coatsleeve / ruff / stale autumn leaves on fire

erase me please

he wants me to macerate these herbs instead
light stratifies into color 

I pass out thrice
resting against my cheek
the shovel blade carries the scent of rust
what was inside will be outside
glitter in my season
finegrained clasts 

strobing ladder
bends across the ceiling and
down the other side 

I climb it and
when I descend
I will be non-orientable 

leaving just an asterisk

            reclaimed from coils
of wild ivy





Jill Khoury earned her MFA from The Ohio State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Portland ReviewArsenic LobsterCopper Nickel, and Inter|rupture. Her chapbook Borrowed Bodies was released from Pudding House Press. You can find her at jillkhoury.com.