Runner's Log for Jessica Jacobs's In Whatever Light Left to Us
by Sara Watson
Most runners will tell you that logging the miles is nearly as satisfying as running them. There is a particular joy in looking back at where you’ve been, in adding it all up. This is what Jessica Jacobs offers us in her 2016 chapbook, In Whatever Light Left to Us. Here is a portrait of a runner in love, a record of a love built across miles and years. Running, for Jacobs, is both a metaphor for and a kind of love itself. “Once there were two women, running through winter,” she writes, in the chapbook’s opening poem; “Each counted the other’s strides to stay joined in time, kept pace with the other’s breathing.” Here, too, is what I like best about Jacobs’s poetry: its attention to both the interior and natural worlds. There are bees in this book, and deer, magpies and alligators. There is also a girl discovering desire, becoming a woman who worships her wife. It’s a somber book, and also a sexy one. To read it is to be enveloped in humidity, submerged in a deep and steady love.
In the spirit of record-keeping as a means of reflection, I offer this calendar, a kind of runner’s log marked with phrases from In Whatever Light Left to Us.
Sara Watson's poems have appeared in BOAAT, PANK, The Southern Review, and other journals. She studied poetry at Chatham University and earned a PhD in English & Comparative Literature from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. She likes sentences, animals, rivers, porches, and lesbian lit. and currently lives in Pittsburgh where she teaches Women & Gender Studies.