When I Remember

You are the building
that makes me whole —
my upright infrastructure.
They tell me you are bone,
sing songs that this
connects to that,
but how else to explain

the mystery pain
that takes up residence
in random places?

the cache they cannot see
with their machines
or diagnose with certainty?

the telltale whispers
in my head that haunt
but never relent?

the words that break off
from aftershocks
and fall at my feet,
collected in bowls
around my house?

I pick one up and write:
this is the labyrinth,
the year of sadness,
the walk on hallowed ground,
the day we saw whales
and he loved me because
I cheered.

Poem & Photo ©2017, Jen Payne


the one who watched her walk to sixth grade from his front door, the gold bathrobe open, exposed

the one who slipped a tongue when no one was watching, just a goodnight kiss to his best friend’s daughter

the one who assumed flirt meant fuck, crushed her hard against a suddenly reclined seat

the one who figured the Big Mac and fries bought him sex, like a toy you get with a Happy Meal

the one who insisted on air conditioning in winter, who joked about cold nipples while pouring hot coffee in the breakroom

the one who called her girl in a room full of men, then ignored her while she led the meeting

the one who slammed her into a corner, left bruises as a reminder that dishes were to be done before he got home

the one who dined her, wined her, loved her, then left her alone, in the dark…and never came back

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. #MeToo. Image: Man and Woman I, Edvard Munch.

Looking for Evidence of Flossing?

Then look no further!


Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind
73 Poems by Jen Payne
80+ Original & Vintage Photographs
180 Pages, Full Color, Signed, $21.99


Or stop by the Martha Link Walsh Gallery for this weekend’s book launch events!
Saturday, October 14, 3-6pm & Sunday, October 15, Noon – 2pm
188 North Main Street, Branford, CT 06405
(Click here for more information.)

Book Launch! Evidence of Flossing!

Join us to celebrate the publication of the newest book by Jen Payne!

Saturday, October 14 • 3:00PM – 6:00PM
Book Signing, Refreshments & More

– – – – –

Sunday, October 15 • Noon – 2:00PM
Artist Talk with Jen Payne & Martha Link Walsh
Conversation, Refreshments & More

– – – – –

Hosted by
Martha Link Walsh Gallery
188 North Main Street • Branford, CT

For more, email 3chairspublishing@gmail.com.

A Way with Words: Payne Pens Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind

By Pam Johnson, Senior Staff Writer, Shore Publishing

No doubt about it, Jen Payne has a way with words. From her volunteer “pet project” as web designer for the Branford Land Trust (BLT) website for nearly 20 years to her newest book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, the Branford author and artist brings together words and images to champion the natural world and remind us of what she terms “our divine and innate connection with nature.” The book also provides telling social commentary and photos showing “evidence” warning of a growing disregard for nature’s gifts and for each other. (Read More)