Samantha Jones | Issue 16
Crybaby | Poetry
Dear red-rimmed eyes, squint shut and let those crow’s feet grow a little deeper. Trenched into this delicate skinscape— a diversion, canals that carry water and salt and fat and proteins over the rise of my cheek. Lay out a shimmering strip reaching for my ear: In the morning I’ll try to mine it for potash. I’m a crybaby and everybody knows it. I can feel my son looking at me again. We’re watching the latest animated family movie and I know what he is waiting for—the moment I choke up. Once I feel that rock in my throat, I know it’s game over. I’m just one grandparent and grandchild heart-to-heart, one against-all-odds achievement, or one moment of self-discovery away from bursting the levees. I step outside and inhale deep through my nose, try to smell the distant coast descendent in each drop of rain, impossible even though my mom’s a crier too. I have experience both barfing and crying upon reaching mountain summits. The barfing is simple, a physical response to overexertion, the buildup of lactic acid, and general unpreparedness. The crying is more complex. Perhaps a few parts pride, a pinch of fatigue, a scoop of relief, and handfuls and handfuls of wonder. Soak in spring water, crust your skin with minerals, slough the dried flakes off the legs and arms, bathe in sea salt— some people pay a lot of money for what I can do for free. I’d be happy to sit down for tea or coffee and talk about Maud Lewis or Terry Fox, but best not forget the tissues. You see, some of us leave a mark so deeply pressed into place that I can’t imagine giving a nod in memory that isn’t adorned with tears. Gravity pulls gentle drops from my eyes down to my chest. Even the laws of physics show how the brain and heart are connected. This whole time I’ve been the lightning rod, fingertips stirring the clouds, bare feet stained with summer lawn. There is a special method to letting the world pass through. It needs a body carefully wired, well-connected, deeply grounded, a body not making a big to-do about swapping something subatomic. I can’t help but notice you tiptoe around, are you worried I’m in the mood to unleash gigajoules? That’s not my business, I’ve been busy diverting damage from the house. Get out your graduated cylinder. Anyone who’s been paying attention should be able to gauge my frustration by its meniscus. Flip open the end of this kettle and let the vapour pour out. A pressure release to restore the peace. Though it’s not a problem to leave me whistling. I’m proficient in switching back and forth between sound and steam. Just know that when I relay the story about being told, “You learn the most when you’re struggling,” you won’t be cast as the hero. Fwd: Re: Difficult discussions Can someone forward me the policy on crying in the office, on reacting to people crying in the office, on reacting to people reacting to me crying in the office? Thanks so much, no worries if not :)
Samantha Jones (she/her) lives and writes on Treaty 7 territory in Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary), Alberta. Her heritage is mixed, she is white settler and Black Canadian and grew up on the east coast in Nova Scotia. Sam is a magazine and journal enthusiast with writing in THIS, Room, Grain, CV2, Watch Your Head, Arc Poetry, GeoHumanities, and elsewhere. Her visual poetry chapbook, Site Orientation, was published by the Blasted Tree in the spring of 2022. Sam is currently a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Calgary and blue whales are her favourite candy.
Site Orientation by Samantha Jones The Blasted Tree, 2022
Site Orientation is an experimental visual poetry project by Samantha Jones that plays with the format of safety data sheets to create an introduction to a home through the lens of OCD. Jones invents warning labels for OCD triggers, then pairs them with domestic situations to make poems that are both humorous and insightful.
The Blasted Tree has produced a limited edition of fifty 7” x 9” chapbooks, each rivet-bound into red cardstock and protective plastic covers, evoking the clipboards of safety information posted in lab and factory work sites.
Issue #16 of Send My Love to Anyone
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