J E S S I C A   C U E L L O

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

Jessica Cuello is the author of the chapbooks My Father's Bargain (2015), By Fire (2013), and Curie (2011). She was the winner of The 2013 New Letters Poetry Prize, a winner of LUMINA's poetry contest (selected by Carolyn Forché), the recipient of a 2015 Saltonstall Writing Fellowship and the recipient of the 2014 Decker Award from Hollins University for outstanding teaching. Jessica's first full-length manuscript, Pricking, is forthcoming from Tiger Bark Press in October 2016.

T H E   D A R T : M O B Y   D I C K   C H A P T E R    6 2



And who knows how hard it is 
to aim a dart? To keep it fixed. 
To handle a male body. Only men know.
She could hear him from the basement 
of the sea. How stiff
he lay wanting his fill of her.
He resented cross-purposes.
Her purpose at all.

How hard is it to follow 
when the dart affixes?
To follow iron. Two-flue iron, 
single-flue iron, toggle iron. 
Wood to blackskin.
Tension in the rope. 
If she had one path,
now she has another. 

Go to sleep, she’d say, I can hear
you thinking. And he could feel her
leaving while she slept,
escaping him like water 
and his neck had a crick
angled toward her.













T H E   M O N K E Y   R O P E : M O B Y   D I C K   C H A P T E R   72




Brothers dangle over me—two twins,
bonded by my body

one holds the rope
that fastens to the other’s belt,
he dances on my back in socks

if one falls, the other falls
he is his brother
his slippery foothold is his life

beautiful sacrifice and fraternity
I’m submerged
with my death and bitten flesh

waiting for his hook to lodge