Gemelle John

Two Poems

If you count

There are several ways to be a beating heart         and still feel everything a daybreak

A moon and cool flesh raging at 3 am              fecund and alone you are always the shell

is there anyone waiting for us     in this pain       will I find you there still gnawing your anguish

does that make you human or now     how can I love you myself a siren groaning

into hand towels every morning         still living like everything is happening and none of it is us

why flesh between our shoulder blades     why heavy and no cross and nothing fully blistered

and then we are the blood made glass watching and becoming a reason to love

someone you’ve only ached for       heart

you do not belong here


if grief plural

In the third grade there is no spectrum for death/ Only the gnawing and how to draw it into three days more/ so our eyes glaze as plumes of smoke dress the skyline/ we observe it with a modesty painted onto the outer boroughs/ from the time we are born/ brown and one more /our hearts are taught to absorb adequately/ So on this day/ chaos a liaison for our grief/ we watch The Land Before Time in unpressed plaid uniforms/ eat what’s left of the pizza Pringles/ First 30 then 17 then 5 /students remain/ parents come to clutch the/ only thing they own/ students refract a centuries worth of news with every question/ the newspapers know new deaths by the hour/ that aren’t ours/this time/ this outside/ might be home/ but in the outer boroughs/ unless it’s burning/ it probably isn’t ours/so to this day/ simmer has always been an answer/ when people ask where we were / I say invisible, choking, and still a ritual unburied



Gemelle John is an alumna of the University of Delaware, where she served as vice-president of the University’s Resident Student Organization, S.P.I.T (Stimulating, Prose, Ideas, and Theories), and worked with Andrea Gibson, Clint Smith, and Alixa and Naima of “Climbing Poetree.” Her work has been featured in Cleaver Magazine, Public Pool, and The News Journal. She is a 2018 Emerging Artist Fellow with the Delaware Division of the Arts and has received fellowships from VONA, Juniper, and the Delaware Writer’s Retreat. She currently works as a Spanish teacher in Wilmington. Her website: