J. K. Daniels

Two Prose Poems

Volume 14:4, Fall 2013
Prose Poem Issue

As Alice on Gertrude’s Lap

Not on. Abreast. A breast is abetting and aiding. A broach, a breast, unclasped abuts a button. Accoutrement, accessory, a necessary country. A dress addressed, a red awry. A wry grey adored.

Ardor our door. The address not unknown. A knock. The (too) many who adore you.

An accident, a vase accosted, a cost, a breaking and a mending. Amendments and administrations. Aspersions and aspic. A tone, a meant tone. Atonement: cold meats on a platter, the placating cheese (there is no excuse). Attraction a traction. Ask again and I’ll stay.




In the xeriscape, consider the Mound-lily Yucca (y. gloriosa)—not to be confused with the Spanish Bayonet (y. aloifolia), which will puncture your jeans and your thigh underneath: why are you worried about how attractive you are? The point is to conserve water.  The yucca is a vascular plant: xylem and phloem, not heart fluttering.  One can adapt to lack. The root can be pounded to soapy lather.  Spread more zinc-oxide on your nose, dear: X marks the spot with a dot, dot, dot.


Why do you tell me what I already know?  Oh ye of little faith, must you see to believe the Y-coordinate, the yield in widgets?  I accept your preference for the vertical but not the zero-sum.  I’m not quarrelling: yes is not the same as not no.  The nuns caution: Xavier’s severed arm hangs in a Vatican chapel: sunk costs cannot be recovered. Q:  Francis or Frances? A:  I could be your boy:  let me turn for you:  kiss my nape. O can be origin or null. Why? Why not?


Consider the zipper, my now-zero, my once-zillion.  Let’s call you X and me Y.  If Y wagers her vanity against X’s unwillingness to touch her…. No. Let’s revise: if Y plots her ultimatum against X’s vacillation, on what plane will they part?  Usury: an unconscionable interest or the interlocking teeth without the sliding pull?  Tell me of zone defense and I’ll tell you of the great divisions of the earth’s surface: Frigid, Temperate, and Torrid.  I will be the zeroth in your series: the all for naught.


J.K. Daniels teaches creative writing and American literature at Northern Virginia Community College and reads for The Northern Virginia Review. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, 2011; New Orleans Review (online); and ILK.