“So Come On and Let Me Know” Poetry by J. Pearce


Jared Pearce wrote Down Their Spears (Cyberwit, 2020 forthcoming) and The Annotated Murder of One (Aubade, 2018). His poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Otis Nebula, Willawaw, Lucky Jefferson, Aloe, and Hip Pocket. He lives and works in Iowa, United States. Further: https://jaredpearcepoetry.weebly.com.

Artwork by Arturo Cabrera


The curtain rods are not centered. Over
the years they’ve nudged until she says,
We need a repair, a centering.

The brackets were measured and bolted,
but the swish of the fabric, the accumulated crush
of the webs nested out of reach,

those tiny hushes have moved the metal
so, It looks dumpy, she says, and cheap.
It’s likely weaker, too, when

the cuff extends so far—doubling-up
they would reinforce each other, hold
against another decade.

I haul out the ladder, grip the tender
insert still and knock the outer slip
until it looks even to me:

she starts like a wounded dog, jumps
back some steps, watches to see
which way to run, bark,

or bite. I take the brake. I’ve got my palms
plain to see. It may be I tapped
a little too far for perfection.

Fortune Cookie

Relying on dead trees,
snapped by chance,
to pin a direction

on us, and then,
bullying the dark
to show we’re brave,

we’ll break it all
to keep it in place,
holding still

the slippery earth.
We want to know
and we want to stop,

something to shatter
and something sure—
that’s what we want.


The night when I can’t sleep, lying
in bed I ballerina leap, thighs bent to
Hungry Rainbow, then my foot slices low
Ready Knife at the mattress crease, blurred
up to The Pyramid when I kink my knee and,
to cool my arms, I round them, The Giant
Halo of South America: I want it to be
my whole being that pounds and bangs
into horizontal meaning, not disturbing
my woman asleep who loves the church
girl who plucks and dinks angelically.
The ceiling applauds and believes squirming
demons briefly bring a truth to being,
dark beauty, unloved and unseen.

My son joined a church.

They took him, young
as he is, dunked
him so the water stuck
in his right ear,

promised to promise
God he’d slick
down his hair, tuck
his shirt, shine

shoes. And my boy
was happy, pecking
at questions
and expectations, going

with the flow, stepping
into waist-deep
water to purify his sweet
tongue and weight

his integrity like his
trousers and shirt full
of the font. And
he gasps, wipes

his eyes, then climbs
on the bank,
a little shiver, a little
smile, belief

surging him like the tide.
And as I help him
dry, I wish the stream
he steps would wave onto me.


I realized I’ll probably die
in this very house, used up
by the college down
the street, lost to friends
and family in America’s
volcanic heart.
this, the trees took meaning,
the flowers boiling up
to the walk, watching the snake
sun, the vulture and hawk
in vent—I can live with these,
as I lose my sight, my hearing,
the final things to see and hear—
certainly there are worse.

From the Editor:

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By In Parentheses in Volume 6

80 pages, published 10/15/2020

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