“Ode to the Lovers Upstairs” by Jennifer Fandel
Jennifer Fandel’s poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, RHINO, The Baltimore Review, Calyx, Architrave Press Editions, Midwestern Gothic, and A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry (University of Akron Press). She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, in a house, though she remains attentive to the actions of her neighbors.
So often love sonnets flatter and promise eternal devotion without stating their true goal: getting the beloved into bed! How refreshing then, to encounter a sonnet that takes sex as its subject, that turns annoyance – startled awake, light fixture shaking – to invitation. The “turn” is one of the joys of the sonnet form: an established idea challenged in some way, reexamined in a new light. Our comfortable downstairs couple gets to rethink themselves, enjoy something both new and renewed while we readers smile slyly, thinking of our own plans.
Shaking windows, a reverberating ceiling… this poem requires a typeface that sways, something just a little out of control. Euphorigenic lets its capitals descend from the baseline to match the descenders of the lower case letters. The lower case t half dangles and the crossbars of the lower e and a have a precipitous slant, yet it all shakes together. Optimus Pinceps provides a little more discipline for the title with a dash of fun in the pronounced serifs, arranged as steps to mount before the poem can begin.