Select Poems by Jennie Frost

The Body

Delicately separate the backflesh from its muscles, from the scalp, the back of the knees, the bottoms of the feet.

Burn exposed muscles with a boiling metal plate, pushing down until it reaches bone.

Brush out the roof of the mouth, slowly removing the teeth from their sockets using something frozen and sharp.

Dig nails into the nipples and pull from the center out.

Remove genitalia and set it aside (See: “The Mind.”)

Cut your gut and throw it where you can’t find it. (There is nothing you can do here. There is nothing you have ever been able to do here.)

Remove what makes your name sound wrong, what makes your walk feel fake, your arms out of place, your me feel more like a you.

Replace what’s been good, what’s been honest and clean, what doesn’t need change.

If there’s nothing left, call me. Starting over alone is hard. I know this.

The Mind

Take any object in the room and rename it. Respect this name in the future.

Read a book upside down.

Pretend you feel your mind’s electricity working.

Use your non-dominant hand for a week while masturbating (see: “The Body.”)

Flirt with, date, and break up with yourself.

Imagine yourself as your teenage self. Apologize. Beg for forgiveness. (Teenage self will not accept this apology. Move on.)

Practice an instrument in your mind. Clean simultaneously.

Create three Lifetime movie plots involving a pilot, a ghost, and an expiring long-term relationship.

Hold yourself accountable for someone else’s mistakes. Remember: they have done this too.

Build your life story into a Flannery O’Connor plotline.

Masturbate too much.

Don’t masturbate at all (see: “The Body.”)

Cling to any idea. Hold on too tight.

Make up with yourself from previous-self break up. Be friends. Flirt with, date, and break up with new you. If this break up is too much, call me. Dating is hard. I know this.


I feel my stretch marks
widening as I sit.As I take a bite, I feel my neck
swallow my face.

The marks on my legs are longer,
darker, deeper.

When I exercise, my skin tightens
around itself.

There are days when I weigh
one hundred pounds.

Some days I am pregnant, bloated,
days from exploding.

The skin I am in is fat, fatter,
eating itself whole.

The thoughts have never stopped,
only quieted.

There are screams, begging
me to starve.

If it touches my skin,
it won’t be worn.

I’m afraid to ask if I’m still pretty.
There’s no good answer.


Jennie Frost is a Jewish, Appalachian poet from Maryville, TN. She is currently the writer-in-residence and Literary Arts Director at Sundress Academy for the Arts where she works closely with visiting poets and an entire herd of sheep. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Border Crossing, Kudzu, Glass Mountain, Indicia, Stirring, and more. She is a dedicated member of the LGBTQ+ community and a human rights activist focusing on sexual assault prevention.

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