“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”
--Robert Frost, in a letter to Louis Untermeyer
Jennifer's work can be found at:
The Poetry Porch poets
Poetry Porch feature
The Sonnet Scroll
Poetry Porch archives
SF Poetry Broadside
A review of Jennifer's work at
To order from bn.com Old Direction of Heaven
Email: Jennifer Rose
Lake Forest Postcard
Crows squawk each morning like dogs barking back
and forth, waking me up. I’m homesick.
I walk a lot. Yesterday I stalked a heron
as he waded up the creek while I remained
half a block behind—a Moslem wife resigned
to all fate had assigned her. Today
I took my guidebook to the field and tried
to match the flowers with photos there.
My jackpot came whenever a flower and photo tied—
a slot machine whose payoff was a single name.
Poplars waved their white-gloved leaves like royalty.
A viceroy pumped its bellows then became the flame.
White butterflies flapped dollhouse sheets above the flowerheads
like Goldilocks looking for the right size bed.
(I thought of you in our bed and your lovely face,
your breasts beneath a negligee of Queen-Anne’s lace.
The coneflowers’ nipples aren’t as nice as yours,
whose rosehip ripens like its metaphors.
Oh, to lie with you in meadows no one mows,
wrapped up in prairie calicos!)
“Tsk, tsk,” say the cicadas of my homesickness
and wasted life. Blue jays laugh about my endless
grief. Fireflies, on the other hand, understand
my loneliness; they sting the dark with sudden pangs
of it. Crickets tick like clocks set out to comfort
just-weaned puppies and soothe me as your breathing does,
wind sieved through screens, waves smoothing sand
in tony suburbs all along the lake. Darling,
whatever it was I came for escapes me now.
All that’s left to do here is to ache.
Metaphors at Low Tide
The tide bows out like an obsequious servant
till sand flats stretch, vast as the floor
of a janitor’s nightmare. Clumps of green fleece
are wet mops gone clammy—again, his bad dream.
Careful as a Jain with no one to sweep for him,
I tiptoe among the periwinkles.
Hermit crabs scurry like tow trucks
around the snails’ stalled traffic.
In the world of their puddle it is all
so purposeful! Gulls, which earlier dropped clam-bombs
on the beachhead, are calm now—Victorian women
wading, or penguins on their tundra.
What am I to them, I wonder? Cumulus?
Colossus? Or are they less curious
than I am, examining these razor clams
ditched by hoodlums when they heard the foghorn’s siren?
Straw surf—dried eel grass—breaks along the beach.
Miles of sand marcelled by wind pantomime
the waves which brought that silent surf here.
No undertow is safer. Drained, the bay’s
a closet opened up to show a child
no monster lurks there; filled, the darkness irks her still
with fears she can’t explain. To calm her then,
the tide—a patient mother—goes out yet again.