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A Few Words from Cleopatra’s Lover

By Jen Rouse

You trap the sun
in endless Ball jars,
line them up like
tiny souls on
the window sill.

Let me tell you:
I have watched
your hands for
witchcraft, weights
and measures
against my breast.

alchemist, I have
risen time and
again to again
with you, clenched
in my fists. The sun.

But palm opened
and released, you
seethe at my desire,
rage until I turn

Oh how you forget
so quickly, the perfume
at the nape of
a neck. Come now,
remember: I am always
a chance of a storm.


About Author:

Rouse picJen Rouse is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poet Lore, Pretty Owl, The Tishman Review, Inflectionist Review, Midwestern Gothic, Sinister Wisdom, and elsewhere. She has new work in the Plath Poetry Project, and is the 2017 winner of the Gulf Stream Summer Poetry Contest. Rouse was named a finalist by Ellen Bass in the Charlotte Mew Poetry Chapbook contest. Her chapbook, Acid and Tender, came out December 2016 from Headmistress Press. Find her at or on Twitter @jrouse.

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