Jessica Long

You look at me
as if I should apologize
for the width of my existence.
If my circumference
bothers your tiny mind:
look away.
You see the weight I carry
but not the burdens I shoulder.
My father’s grief.
The tears of my sisters.
You should look at me and think
Unmovable patience.
Giant shield-bearer to life.

Author's Commentary: I wrote this poem for my mother. I wanted to give a voice to her ferocious inner strength.

Jessica Long

You wanted a hog-tied love
that left me little room for breathing.
I walked barefoot on eggshells
and remembered not to say things.
You cut the teeth of our house keys
on the parts of my soul
that I was brave enough to share.
I spent the wealth of myself
on our time together
and you called it poverty.

Author's Commentary: When I left my marriage, I felt like it was something I wasn’t supposed to survive. Writing has been the only way for me to be honest with myself.

Additional Note: My poems tend to be short (or you could say “condensed”) because I worked as a live TV news producer for seven years and always had to be conscious of how long it would take my anchor to read a story. So it feels weird for me to write anything that would take longer than 45 seconds for someone to read.

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Jessica Long was born in Florida but grew up in Montgomery County, Virginia. At Emory & Henry College, she earned degrees in English Literature and Mass Communication. Jessica lives in Radford and is a huge fan of her two nieces (Riley & Colbie), K-dramas, animals and dad jokes.