"About the Work" with JSA Lowe

In our "About the Work" series, Natalie Tombasco asks recent contributors for insight into their writing or for current sources of inspiration. Read JSA Lowe's poem, "Dear Ventilator," in SER Vol. 40.2.


 

The title of “Dear Ventilator” comes from the early days of the pandemic; I thought of it as, What machine helps you draw breath? What engine makes sure you stay alive when your body can’t hold out any longer? Most of what happens in this poem is boringly true: Amy and I really did sled over her snowman ex-boyfriend with his gherkin dick; my dog really does lie down in the grass and refuse to keep walking when he wants some sunshine; Galveston really does have empty two-million-dollar houses; my best friend really did nope out of our friendship, understandably, after I was horrible to her. But I wanted to put all these pieces together in a way that would imply something structural that holds you together when everything is unbearable and you don’t know how you’ll survive from minute to minute. The crucial sentence is probably “I don’t want revenge, I want oxygen,” because when you’re a cornered animal, racked with fear and loss, you can only think as far as your next inhalation. It’s not a very nice thought, but it might be a true one.


 


JSA LOWE's poems have appeared in such publications as AGNI, American Scholar, Black Warrior Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Hobart, Michigan Quarterly Review’s Mixtape, Q/A Poetry, Salamander, Salt Hill, Screen Door Review, Sinister Wisdom, Superstition Review, Third Coast, and Versal. She has published two chapbooks, DOE and Cherry-emily. She is a lecturer in English at the University of Houston, where she received her PhD; she lives on Galveston Island.