How often did I augur it: the misery of chasing you
down corridors of rottenstone that turned to dust, erasing you?
How countless were those phantom doors that led to you, but there inside:
a kneeling man with chalk in hand, his forehead lowered, tracing you.
These fears came early; you were drawn to risk and peril from the start:
a burning candle, busy roads – my days were spent outpacing you.
The willful child grew wanton wings and flew to each temptation posed –
AWOL on drugs, withdrawn from life, the bait of boys, debasing you.
What need would draw you, sure as breath, to crave all things precarious,
although you knew the sure outcome: the weight of guilt, disgracing you?
An unkind god has engineered innate seduction, cellular,
that draws its dupes to sure defeat – each denouement, unlacing you.
My Fulton blood transferred that trait – long lineage of lustful souls
who, though the curse wrought their despair, surround you now, embracing you.
B. Fulton Jennes is a poet and educator who has led workshops for children, teens, and adults for 30 years. As a public-school English teacher, she introduced thousands of students to performance poetry and continues to advise a teen spoken-word team. Recently, Jennes was selected to attend the Breadloaf Writing Conference as a general contributor; her poem “Not” was awarded second place in the Connecticut Poetry Society’s annual competition and will appear in the 2020 edition of the Connecticut River Review.