​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

I know there are inhuman things that grow 
             in the shallows of me. 
                                                  Yes, an orchard of callused, 
mud-caked hands twisting out from the ground. 

I feel the flock of birds perched on rib my bones. Yes, 
             I am child forever—
                                                    husk of perennial flesh, 
the space between lovers’ bodies, a fresh bruising 

of fruit between the thighs. Yes, sweet girl. Pretty girl. 
             The neighbor boy’s body 
                                                             heavy as a rainstorm. 
I think somewhere in the world he still carries a monument 

to my skinny wrists. So when I met a man who reminded me 
of the neighbor boy who touched me 
                                                              as a child, whose eyes were moss 
flecked and sallow— I knew who I was made for. 

The neighbor boy offered me a golden apple. I was 
            seven. I took it. My whole
                                                              life swallowed up 
in one handful of mealy white flesh.

G A R D E N   O F   H E S P E R I D E S

S E L F - P O R T R A I T   A S   T H E 

Jessica Lynn Suchon is a poet, essayist, and women’s rights advocate. She recently received her MFA from Southern Illinois University where she was recognized by The Academy of American Poets. In 2016, Jessica was named an Emerging Writer Fellow by Aspen Words, a partner of The Aspen Institute. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Yemassee, Radar Poetry, Connotation Press, decomP magazinE, Rust + Moth, and A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault, among others. 

B Y   J E S S I C A   L Y N N   S U C H O N