Illustration by Alieu Sawaneh

Anniversary by Karen Jennings

Illustration by Alieu Sawaneh
Illustration by Alieu Sawaneh

To begin again
is easy.
We say the words,
make promises,
even write them down.

But I have as little hope
for this year
as I did for last.

There are always
backaches, headaches,
black moods,
traffic, phone calls,
something else.

Here are the promises
we made.
I have them
in the ring on my finger,
in the place we came to live,
in a photo displayed
of our wedding day,
and the letters we wrote then.

But really this is
my spinsterhood
in which I sit,
aging amongst the dust
of all these things.
A womb trained
not to yearn.

About the Author

Karen Jennings

“A poem about loneliness within a marriage.”

Karen Jennings was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1982, but now lives in Goiania, Brazil. She hold Masters degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, as well as a PhD in English Literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her debut novel, Finding Soutbek was published in 2012 by Holland Park Press (UK) and was shortlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for African Fiction. Her latest book, Travels with my Father, was published in November 2016 by Holland Park Press and was longlisted for the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for 2017.

About the Illustrator

You can follow Alieu’s amazing artwork on Instagram.

Anniversary is one of the many amazing poems from the upcoming edition of the literary collection The Machinery. You can submit your poetry and fiction here.

Feel free to share the poem on Social Media or let us know what you think about it in the comments below!

5 thoughts on “Anniversary by Karen Jennings

  1. I share the same sentiments as Pradita. “[T]his is my spinsterhood” also expresses well the failure of the institution of marriage that promises a shared lived experience with all its ups and downs.


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