Microcosm

The spider had a curious look

not curious as in odd,

but curious, inquisitive, intrigued.

I saw him from the corner of my eye

watching me, then rummaging

through a pile of paper,

back again for a second look,

peering as if to say Who Are YOU?

(or WHAT I suppose)

Perhaps the same look of WHAT?

the fish had as it soared over the pond

yesterday afternoon…

Who are YOU? to the osprey,

and WHEN did I learn to fly?

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. Image: Microcosm, Remedios Varo

The Heavens at Every Step

And God made…every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

a quintillion
is written as such:

one
zero
comma
zero
zero
zero
comma
zero
zero
zero
comma
zero
zero
zero
comma
zero
zero
zero
comma
zero
zero
zero
comma
zero
zero
zero

more insects in one square mile of meadow

than humans on the whole of Earth

200 million to one

a universe of bugs

the heavens at every step.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month, 22. Bible reference: Genesis 1:24-25. Image: Insects, Theodor Severin Kittelsen.

An Odd Courting (A 100-Word Story)

I assure you, I did nothing to encourage him. I was simply kneeling trailside, counting petals on a flower — he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not. Then I heard him approach, footstepping through memories of trees scattered across the forest floor. In his camouflage, I recognized fear and wonder, the wild and unpredictable nature of things, the magic of connection. There was no amorous announcement to my ear, but a sound, a something sound I could not believe. So as not to dash his hopes, I left quietly, wondering: do spiders really sing?

A true story. Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month, 14. Image: Princess Sotoori and Spider from the Series Zuihitsu (Essays) by Ogata Gekko, 1887. Click here to listen to the singing I heard: “Listen to The Creepy Sounds Spiders Make When They Want Sex.”

i am just the world

Pay no attention.
I’m just here
beneath these trees,
their forgotten leaves
warm from the sun.
Nevermind
my slow traverse,
I’ll step aside for you.
Make myself small
so you forget
I am light and love,
the god to which you pray,
the universe upon my back,

everything.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month, 12. Image ©2017, Jen Payne. Spotted turtles are protected by the Connecticut Threatened and Endangered Species Act. See also: World Turtle.