Two Poems by Jax NTP


dear women who are not embarrassed when their nipples get hard in public,

did you know that deserts are the first place to thirst
because they were the ancient oceans that dried first

evolution of consciousness and totems for a sea witch
nautilus, squid, cuttlefish, octopus: locomotion defense

i haven’t been able to process joy since i’ve inherited
my mother’s trauma while she was pregnant with me

it is easier to thread the needle if you lick it first, mother
taught me feminine etiquette at a young age i had to let go

erect motion and bait, a simple love story in three parts
cut the deck and draw the strength, trilobite transformations

con không được yêu đàn bà

tell me about all the things we can’t undo
threats are promises people want to keep

at some point, you cannot live in rage, stop fighting
to allow yourself a chance to heal, go on, draw the three of cups


my anxiety is a yard sale of dead people’s stuff

dear climax, death is

the way i tap the ridges on her teeth with my fingernails
green lichen veins on vertical smoky quartz in damp climates

is the way i tap the sides of tupperware since i was a fat kid
we only get better when we acknowledge our limits and short comings

is she durable enough to keep around because toxic cycles birth
fears the shock of first bites are sweeter than tips of shishito peppers

i have an irrational fear that i’m going to go blind mid-fucking

are two womyn durable enough unlearn what our cultures deem
sinister since to supplement means to both extend and replace

i’m just looking for a spot in your body to fail in – to hide my face in
clarity is not sudden it catapults from primal emotions in the cold sun

in your absence i turn into a gargoyle frozen peppercorn
and birds die when they try to defecate on me

isn’t death just another climax dear

About the Author:

Jax NTP holds a Master in Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach. They teach critical thinking, literature, and composition at Golden West College, Irvine Valley College, and Cypress College. They edit fiction and poetry for The Offing MagazineIndicia Lit, and By&By Poetry. Their words have been featured in various publications including Berkeley Poetry ReviewApogee JournalHobart Literary MagazineSan Diego Reader and The Cordite Review.

Cover image from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. Engraving by Harry Clarke, 1916.