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Word Problem by Jenn Koiter

The last time I saw you, you gave me a book of shitty poems. The second poem in one section, you said, particularly made you think of me. But three and a half hours of talk had wrung me out; I was desperate for rest; it didn’t register which section that was.

The book is broken into four sections. Each section starts with a shitty proem of sorts, also in verse, which complicates things, as I cannot be sure whether you were counting those as poems or not. That narrows the field, then, to eight shitty poems. I’m fairly certain it is the second shitty poem in the first section, but that is merely an educated guess.

All I can know is that, when I hold this book, I hold a shitty poem that bound us without my participation or knowledge (one of a possible eight), and that I will never now have reason to lie about not hating it, that earnest, cringeworthy, shitty poem, whichever one it is.


Jenn Koiter’s poems and essays have appeared in Smartish Pace, Barrelhouse, perhappened, Ruminate, and other journals. She lives in Washington, DC with three gerbils named Sputnik, Cosmo, and Unit. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @jennkoiter.

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