Jessica Lee


There’s no business like show business

and us women are good at showing off

our pretty little hot tongues, play-acting pleasure

on the regular. Heavy sighs are easier

than saying No, that didn’t actually get me off.


This may seem indecent, but I have to know


Donna Reed, did you climax regularly

with any of your husbands on or off screen

or were such cleansings a seasonal thing

like cleaning the rain gutters, something written

on the calendar which required

a certain mood, a certain kind of weather?


When I was a little girl I used to look

at the older girls and think

Once I have sex I will be more

embodied, too, as if connecting with another body

might help me learn my own. But my young

sex didn’t help because sex back then didn’t really

mean pleasure. It wasn’t until I loved

without play-acting that I began to know

myself, to grow inside my own body.


Sometimes I come and feel blue


this heavy indigo pooling at my root

that wraps around my shoulders too, as though

my lover and I were in a cocoon—spun by me

but also of our own making. Donna did you ever

know such a warm, warm blue?


Jessica Lee is an Assistant Editor for Narrative Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Literary Review, BOAAT, The Boiler, cream city review, DIAGRAM, Fugue, phoebe, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the 2017 So to Speak Poetry Contest and the 2017 Greg Grummer Poetry Award. Find her online at

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