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JJ Starr


Purple smoke rises and shrouds the sun. An iris of heat, it spools across the afternoon landscape:
sharp horizon lines that pile up on one another; grand ripples of stultified ground thrust skyward
in shanks.

                                      Approaching, approaching, and approaching.

Haze becomes shadow, shadow becomes grain, the grain darkens and fills in, goes jagged,
becomes trees, becomes patches between snow of brush and the shed of last year sinking. The
sky softens, fades like an old dishtowel and I'm back in our smacked-together kitchen on

The stretch pants and sweater cling to her form. She's propped against the sink, one foot tucked
into the side of her knee, the leg folded like a flag. A cigarette tipped into a china saucer ribboning
smoke to the ceiling, pooling outward. It waits for her to finish drying her dish. She'll reach down.
She'll nestle it gently between the middle and index finger, and she'll drag on it slow, while
scratching the length of her jaw.


JJ Starr currently attends the MFA program in poetry at Queens College, CUNY. Her work has appeared in Drunken Boat and Stirring.