rae hoffman jager

What Jealousy Does

There’s nothing I can say about coal barges
and their long marriage to rivers
that hasn’t already been said,
like water is beautiful and necessary
and every barge is a women floating
face down in a steel dress, carrying on
her back whatever people leave there.
I can sense something leaving in you, dear.

When I’m not looking, you undress her
shores, thrust towards that enticing light. 
I bite my cheeks in the night and wake with blood
in my mouth, waiting for you to confess.  
Instead you fill my pockets with coal and gravel,
draw me into the water and push.  For how long can I? 
As with everything in life, timing matters. 
It makes madness out of ordinary women
or wears them down to a hollow.


Rae Hoffman Jager is the author of One Throne (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in print and online journals like AmbitArsenic Lobster, and Rise Up Review, to name a few. Her work has been described as rambunctious, urgent, funny, and elegiac. Rae holds a BA from Warren Wilson College and an MFA from Wichita State University. When she is not writing or reading poems for Rivet Journal, she can be found staring out of windows. For more information, you can visit her website at