Under this sun, hung this day so low and close,
you raise your hand to shade your eyes,
which are not suns or jewels but what they are:
brown-gold irises, pupils contracting:
the sun? or are you underwhelmed or angered
by what I’ve said or done? Might it be my
leg jiggling under this picnic bench or the angle
at which I look like your mother or that phrase
I used that reminds you of my ex, plucking
the fruit from the low hanging branch? I raise
my hand to better see. In your own created shade,
you say, again, it’s nothing, it’s not you; it’s me—and turn
away, lifting your hand from my knee, to give me
your ear, which your genes have carved so delicately.
J.K. Daniels’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Queer South (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014); Best New Poets, 2011 (UVA Press, 2011); Beltway Poetry Quarterly; Calyx; ILK; New Orleans Review Online; and others. She holds an M.A. in Literature and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing-Poetry from George Mason University, where she edited So to Speak: a Feminist Journal of Literature and Art. She teaches at Northern Virginia Community College and reads for The Northern Virginia Review.