Jennifer Ley: Three poems


You think it's chrome easy
but it's not. Shine won't take you
anywhere but empty. It's just
another carpet ride and your weavings
are held up to blame.

Leaving a desert dusted on-ramp out
is intrinsic to my designs,
where Two Grey Hills meet Coyote
and the Yei Dancers tread lighter
feet upon the pedals.

Strap this rattle to your ankle
and walk awhile, till the seeds
begin to rub and resound.

It's in the space between
where it all happens
where you can get inside a journey
and feel full.

An Orchid's Lament

Driving west into Watchung
my husband commented on the lush green
Queen Anne's lace and milkweed
quick to sprout where last year
the hills wore blasted shale.

Sneaking an eye from the asphalt
and what was inexorably gaining on me
in the rear view mirror, I mumbled something
about the tenaciousness of wild vegetation
and changed lanes to hurry us home.

Ah, for the days when I was vetch
not this hot house flower
too needful of a gardener's hand,
my root feet timid under wider skies
near the rush of the open road.


    Inspired by a poem by CK Tower

I try to keep us away from the cutlery,
especially anything serrated.
It's so hard to stitch a wound
closed if the cut isn't clean.

Perhaps that's why we're obsessed
with the orderly, color code our clothes
and group the books on our shelves.
Do I file Sexton under S or A, or under D,
for death and dysfunction?

It's what won't come clean that
ultimately finds us wearing clothes
hand-washed and unfashionably wrinkled,
though we could buy them fresh
off the rack, straighten our spines
and pose for portraits to fool our distant friends.

There's a subtle warp in our weft, a point
where we see the potential for fray
in clothing or costumes. So we return, soap
in hand, to our late night scrubbing.
Cleanse our nails to thin crescent
cuticles, where growth is still a factor.