10 Oct

Poetry – 2 Poems by Jess Falkenhagen


“A woman alone rows across the lake. Her life is intact, but what she thought could never be taken has been taken.”
From Blue Hour by Carolyn Forche

It is what
you do not expect
that ends up shattering you
The surprise,
more than anything else
The crush of broken trust
the small bird
silently nurtured
balanced in the palm of a hand suddenly strangled
the tiny broken bones
countless feathers
falling through fingers

A life built stone by stone
baby by baby
year by year
and then one innocent summer day,
a terrible fire
that is not an accident
but arson
and everything buried in ash

and years later, you still wake up with the smell
of smoke in your hair
impossible to get away from the stench of it still
no matter that all has been rebuilt
and better now than it ever was
the smoke still hovers and chokes
some days

you smile again
and laugh
but you cannot un-

A gash bone deep
never fully mends,
it becomes a scar that aches in the blue dawn
and flashes raining sorrow
while you pretend to listen at a dinner party

prairie girl

Quietly refusing to get wet or sandy,
she sits on the shore in the shade .
Not swimming in the Caribbean blue sea,
by choice.

A willowy, slender stalk
playing Celtic carols on viola by firelight.
Hiding under wide brimmed hat and book
by hand.
Intuiting what hand-

A curled sea shell
A bell
clear and solemn

not easily swayed by the bright lights

Preferring a simple cross,
the archaic ritual,
a small slice of pie.

Jess Falkenhagen

Jess Falkenhagen lives with her husband and 4 children in an old adobe house at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico. She has a background in Cultural Anthropology and reads an enormous quantity of memoir, travel literature, ethnography and poetry. She has been to 41 countries and has been proudly social media free since 1973.