Three Poems | Jana Prikryl | Granta

Three Poems

Jana Prikryl

Custody Hearing

Mom and I whispering, huddled on a set of bleachers that run all the way around
a conference table, behind the Czech supermodel who’s gained custody
of my son because she is his mother, until I thought
no, the deep window sill in the delivery room like an airport’s
I remember, and pondering an epidural with the paralysis menus instill
and when the anesthesiologist appeared with his little bucket-like tray forcing
myself to say Actually, his eyebrows going up and my goggled obstetrician telling him
She said no, then the boy squirted out so I thought, well
I cheated and she, his wife, has my baby, it’s natural






The Ruins

Unprepossessing girl in the café recognized me as the author of two books
before this and asked for my advice, I said
each line has been an accident, staring at the texture
of the plaster on the wall behind her, rivulets cords tendons the lines may stand
if I remove myself, my will ruins it I might not have said that and
recalling exactly what I said would help, I wait for it though waiting
can be a mistake that generates willfulness, I struggled to put this into words
as strong as my conviction, so what advice could I give you I said






Forest Green

On that enormous ship peopled by our friends was one
pale, not in great shape, long dark hair, I longed for who kept going
his own way until he hung the forest green towel from his shoulders
like a cape and took the dingy out behind him with a rope
telling our friends as he pushed off what kind of superhero he was
and I swam after, he’d not object to that, around the corner
of the stern he let me kiss him so long it seems unlikely now
we couldn’t touch bottom the whole time and after
convinced we’d have another
I stood adjusting my outfit forever, gray swimsuit dry
not quite reaching my nipples no matter how much I yank
under a shirt and jeans, before going back on deck to look for him


Image © patsnik

Jana Prikryl

Jana Prikryl’s latest book of poems, Midwood, will be published in the UK the summer of 2024. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Born in the former Czechoslovakia, she lives in Brooklyn and is the Executive Editor of the New York Review of Books.

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