Jeanann Verlee

Ode To Chianti

I don’t bring you to work. Or therapy.
++++++ You’ve never met my father.

Ours is a secret romance.
++++++ Lights off. Glass, optional.

Hot bath, novel. SVU rerun. A lone waltz
++++++ to Johnette Napolitano or Bessie Smith.

You, my darkened tongue, burned throat.
++++++ The relentless mornings after.

I’ve emptied you into gutters,
++++++ pocket books, glamorous shoes.

Rioted with you on Bowery. In Harlem,
++++++ Brooklyn, the mouths of questionable men.

I followed you anywhere. The guardrail,
++++++ the river, the opened wrist.

We launched into that bottle of Xanax.
++++++ Promised from the psych ward,

Never again, never. But nightfall
++++++ brings you back. Your regal name,

impeccable red. You are the honey &
++++++ the milk. The only lover I’ll never leave.


Rearrangement Poem For the Mansplainer

“I’ll chalk this up as yet another time that the white male privilege I happened to be born with makes me unable to speak my mind without being attacked. Again I meant no offense to anyone and was only trying to keep the discussion balanced. Be mindful of witch hunts, people. They can and do still happen. P.S. I can speak with truth and confidence here because I don’t sexually assault people…just sayin’”
—unknown internet commenter

Chalk this up to being privileged.
Just as I attack truth to still the discussion.
My offenseS able me that.
I can speak, be, make, try, keep, here.
Hunt yet another witch.
Again, be mindful of people without
confidence, people sayin’ no, stoP.
With time, I’ll undo anyone, sexually speaking.
It can happen because I was born
with the means, male and white, balanced.
Only happened to assault _______
and _______
and _______
++++++++++++They don’t mind.


Jeanann Verlee is author of two books, Said the Manic to the Muse and award-winning Racing Hummingbirds. Her work appears in Adroit, BOAAT, The Journal, and BuzzFeed Reader, among others, and she has earned the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry. Verlee wears polka dots and kisses Rottweilers. She believes in you. Find her at