Janet

She stood at my front door,
her mousy hair now red,
her sad eyes wild in green spectacles
(not hunter, chartreuse) and exclaimed
“I have written a story about peas,
and one about carrots, too!”
It was her mad manic editorial
of the book I’d just written.
My hurt and insult welled up,
formed a river no compassionate
Buddha could cross.
Funny, all I knew of Buddha then
was what she’d taught me.
First teacher. First mentor.
First guide to connect the dots of the Universe,
explain its constellations.
Then all I could see was that red hair,
those euphoric eyes turned sharp left
to back down the driveway,
my devotion dragged beneath tires.
She would crash and burn, of course.
(They always do.)
But I hear she went out on a high…
blazing love and light across
the crazy brilliant sky
in which I still find stars
and stories and faith.

©2018, Jen Payne. Photo by Neale LaSalle. More of Jen Payne’s writing can be found in her new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, available online from Three Chairs Publishing.

Salvation (A 50-Word Dream)

Footsteps in the distance, ominous, then dull and fading. The tunnels, he explained suddenly, were not for grief, but joy! Like God! I wanted to ask what he meant, but he slipped through a dark wet wall of mud. When I heard the music I thought — this must be salvation!
50-Word poem of sorts, ©2018, Jen Payne. Photo by Enrico Perini. More of Jen Payne’s writing can be found in her new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, available online from Three Chairs Publishing.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth

It is so simple
there at the beginning.
There is no imposition —
or / and what imposition
is barely an itch against
that soft, soft skin
sweet, sweet skin
to kiss and kiss again.
It is so simple
there at the beginning,
before nature and nurture
nurtures nature away,
and nothing,
no nothing,
is so simple
so soft
so sweet
barely.

Poem ©2018, Jen Payne, author of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. IMAGE: Snake Dancer, 1910s postcard for Salon de Paris. Poem title from Genesis 2:4 (KJV).