Moving Continents (and other poems)

Moving Continents

boxes become three-dimensional, their joints taped
and double-taped, their corners crisp: open mouths agape, they stand ready 
to receive needed objects—
[hats: bubble-wrapped but mis-matched 
plates: books by friends
and strangers, rubbing covers under rolled-up shirts: yellow-handled
knives in newsprint: pillows 
and picture frames: a bronze hare with her blind 
eyes fixed on ceiling cracks: boxers and cotton
balls: a folder of old photographs] 

meanwhile, half a year away, the boxes’ future selves—torn and misshapen 
but otherwise intact—sag against a sack truck’s rigid back: after seven 
months contained, hostage to sick, sequestered trades, packed 
objects have settled into new shapes: their corners 
crushed: their pages warped: their fabric frayed—

[there is risk in filling any box: belongings, once devoured, reemerge 
as scat: buried items fall apart when disinterred: needed 
objects, lost to time and transit, leave a scar]

and when, half an epilogue away, my future self—forlorn and mistaken
but otherwise abstract—drags a duffle and a fat backpack off a baggage 
carousel [our fabric torn, our corners frayed] my boxes 
and their objects have, without my knowledge or consent, become quintessence 
of uncertainty, both position and momentum 
unknown quantities— 

[until we reconnect: when our dimensions may be altered but our scratched
and dented bodies recognize their former shape: when we still pass
as needed objects] 

so, today and yesterday, in an old / new world of  hurricanes and summer
haze, I tape my boxes closed against all doubt: stack them, hope 
on rage, next to the dresser and the bed frame and the bookshelves 
and the lamps: all shabbiness disguised by movers’ wrap—

and tomorrow or today, in a new / old world of frigid rain and memories 
that sap, I straighten aching shoulders: tear old tape away: unpack

Uncertainty Principle

contained by our skins and our skulls, we are discrete
microclimates ruled by our blood’s temperature

our body-maps’ coordinates are not fixed: our borders 
shift and our rivers divert: our topographies 

are both known and not known: our cells secret 
caves: our synapses bridges and ravines: we are tree 

and storm: like countless shards of glass
in a kaleidoscope, our patterns shake loose whenever

we move, startling upwards to become sun-dazzled 
murmurations: we are infinities of suns: together

a universe: fellow human, how should I praise 
your countless shards?

Space and the Body: Fragments from a Mind Museum

this building appears known: a space
that is body: my brain but infinity

someone has daubed an intervention 
on the bathroom wall: space 
should not talk: to not think is ecstatic

inhabit or exist: museum and afraid
connect: exhibit limits petty 

make words angry, teenage
painted: a sign/space dispute: people 
as noisy signs

imagine noise: more image than matter

small different wants: head games
free floating: touching outside the heart

to be old in the museum: play 
death as an installation: space 
alone changes

space when connected is always
burnished: not space, bodies

this body looks metal: fingers don’t
find comfortable spaces 

the body is inside me: I am myself
a habitable space: genderless

what wall is appropriate for my art? 


  • Jude Marr (they, them) is a Pushcart-nominated nonbinary poet. Jude’s first full-length collection, We Know Each Other By Our Wounds, came out from Animal Heart Press in 2020. Recent work appears in Leavings, Icefloe Press’s Work and the Anthropocene, Boats Against the Current, and Moria. Jude is currently on the masthead at SWWIM Miami and Poetry is Currency.

  • Details from illustrated book covers of the 1890s, all published by Harper and Sons, New York. From the American Decorated Publishers Bindings Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.