Jessica Furtado

Red Rover

At a gas station a stranger
          shouts that he’s in love with me—
                     just like that. For a while I think 

about the moment
            more than the man, how he can
                        evaporate face and nameless, 
but leave a phrase that stays
            like a photo negative.

                    I think about how
I’ve loved—other people’s
             children, their small fingers
                        fumbling at my wrists for help
opening glue sticks;
           or the music 
                       of a man who comes
and goes like moon phases,
           but always comes back full.

                      I love that love is a word 
too sentimental for poetry, 
            yet here it is 
                        over and over, like a child calling
Red Rover, Red Rover 
          and collecting warm bodies 
                     to build a wall
of collective consciousness.

            I love all of this
                        because it’s all so human, 
your very lips
            mouthing these lines
                        like a fortune cookie—

                                                        cracked open.

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Jessica Furtado is an artist in multiple mediums & a librarian. Her visual work has been featured in Muzzle, PANK, & Waxwing, and her writing has appeared in Rogue Agent, Stirring, & VIDA Review, among others. Jessica’s poetry was a finalist in Best of the Net (2020), and her debut poetry chapbook A Kiss for the Misbehaved is forthcoming from BatCat Press. Visit Jess at