At 3 a.m.

We sit, five of us, naked
around the meeting table
in the office of the men
who arrive, late, in suits and ties,
and we laugh at how silly it is —
smart women, business women,
and these men
these men
insisting their way
as we play along, again

he calls me
a little girl
and we laugh

Later, in the lobby,
as I hold up a bedsheet
to my hide my self
I see across the room
the lover who loved
with shouts and shoves,
he smiles and we laugh,
embrace like old friends,
then he shape-shifts
bear, fox, jackal, demon
holds a fist up to my face
and laughs

he laughs

And I wake up
there, naked
deciphering dreams,
their train window filmstrip
passing, passing
ever so briefly
I am a part of all that I have met
and they of me
resurfacing to remind
and retell stories
I almost forgot.
But not


©2018, Jen Payne with a nod to Lord Tennyson. Photo courtesy of Pexels.


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.