Ace Boggess

The Woman Beside Us Talks to Herself

Get this sorted out, she says.
Give them my stool, she says.
Need some mac & cheese, she says.
Why’s it gotta be like this?

I fight the urge to answer:
Because the songs our insides sing
are sleepy hymns to a god we cannot know.
It’s true: our organs find new ways to hurt.
We have no explanation yet, bellow
at uncertainty, howl gravely, muttering.

Extra credit, she says, for the babysitter.
Words flow from her like bacteria
in her masked cough.

This waiting room is a dully desperate place.

We’re here for antibiotics
to help us cure infectious blues.

She wants jazz, sings in scat,
freeform & chromatic.


Ace Boggess is the author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.