Jenna Sumpter

Confessions of a Marble Slab, Becoming Statue, Becoming Animate

Reverse Shakespearean Sonnet


A bowl unshatters, whole. A column’s spidered

fissures kiss together, and they die.


I don’t know how to love without effacement.

My selfhood must be made of softer stone.

In any case, these questions help me suffer my encasement

until a face unchips itself from marble white as bone.


No, my flesh unstatued—omen

of the end of grace—will not be posed

the paradox of sex or lasting union,

but the dream of it, I need. I am (of course) supposed

to terrify, portend the earthwide slaughter.

Instead I think I’ll just enjoy my limbs, my lungs, my pulse.

Barefoot, I’ll run through grass and maybe find a bit of water

in which to stand and watch the stars convulse.

Jenna Sumpter

J.V. Sumpter is an assistant editor for Kelsay Books, Thera Books, and freelance clients. She has a BFA from the University of Evansville and recent publications in The New Welsh Review, Selcouth Station, Not Deer Magazine, Flyover Country, and Miniskirt Magazine. Visit her Twitter @JVSReads.