Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse

Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem, every Thursday.

The Chain


Tucked in the toe of an odd sock, my lost

silver chain lies curled and knotted too tight

to fit around my neck even as a choker, some links


broken like an old snake’s cervical bones. Once,

I wore it strung with a silver charm, a horn, that fell

to my throat’s hollow, kept away the curse


of eyes and of envy. Today is the coldest day

so far this year. I’ve hung straw crosses

from backdoor posts for St. Brigid, patron saint


of abortions and things thawing: deep dirt

pockets of animals and roots: snakes and last year’s

roses, sleeping voles. I can unknot this chain


with two sharp common pins, pick the tiny locked

spine, loosen all the archaic root words of chaine:

links of precious metals or of iron; to twist, to twine,


to hunt, to snare. Jealousy can open the blood,

It can make black roses. I can wound badly and

I have. Today, I enter my daughter’s birth month


and my own. You are metal, my chart says,

you attract and you orbit: beware toxic loops.

Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Queen of Queens and My Tarantella, named a “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and awarded Finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. Martelli’s chapbooks include All Things are Born to Change Their Shapes, After Bird, and In the Year of Ferraro. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Tahoma Literary Review, Thrush, Cream City Review, Jet Fuel Review, River Mouth Review, and elsewhere. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants for poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.

Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.

Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx

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