Jessica Goodfellow


Jessica Goodfellow’s books are Mendeleev’s Mandala (Mayapple Press, 2015) and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Isobar Press, 2014). Recipient of the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from the Beloit Poetry Journal, she’s had work in Best New Poets, The Writer’s Almanac, and Verse Daily. One of her poems was made into a short film at Motionpoems. Currently working on a manuscript about the death of her uncle on Denali, she’ll be an artist-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve this summer. Jessica lives and works in Japan.


Nocturne without Counterexample

The mechanical oracle of moon
spools its rumors of change
that is not

The chronically unchronicled
wait patiently
as smog rusts the stars
that staple up the night.

Each heart beats:
        bamboo /
sealing one emptiness
after another
into manageable chambers.

If you examine a piece of bamboo, you’ll notice that at each joint the bamboo is sealed, forming internode cavities. This reminds me of the chambers of the heart, their valves sealing them shut, though temporarily. The word bamboo also sounds like a heartbeat, which is itself the sound of the valves snapping shut. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet; that fact isn’t in the poem, because when I tried to put it there, it was distracting. But I wanted you to know, and now you do, or you already did.