January’s Drones

The drone is viewing from a bird’s eye, the tops of human heads of varying shapes and colors

I wonder what it wants to see

The vultures see the same heads
and know that each of these fleshly thoughts are exactly the size of the organic matter of a meal

They know more than the drone knows.

The amber alert is going off in my hand while I stand in the parking lot looking toward the drone that is being circled by vultures

It is warm and sunny for a January day and all of the people walking to their cars from the grocery store are carrying charcoal

I am half smiling, half frowning and the drone hovers closer, sees my face

Like it sees the tops of all of those heads attached to arms and hands carrying charcoal and meat and amber alerts,

It sees me seeing

I drop something when the flight of drone and vulture become a warning that a lost child is somewhere on an interstate in a Ford Flex or not

Looking from the sky now, license plates are sitting cleverly with big smiles. They are innocent and their teeth have not been displayed as bad news.

My son says, ” There sure have been a lot of amber alerts this year and it’s only January.”

I look back up at the dumb drone, the hungry vultures circling the innocent

The blind bird eye and the unburdened wing no longer have any mystery to offer

I never pick up what I dropped in the parking lot
I don’t even know what it was, though I have a vague idea that I know it exactly.

We drive home and light our grill because I still have my son and it is never this warm and sunny in January.


J. Ann.


On Library Time

On Library Time

The blind thing was happening
in the library parking lot where cars were lined tic tac toe straight lines to my left and to my right. Every space was taken by a faceless person leaning back in the driver seat, reading a blank book without a title.

The sun blinked on the horizon of pavement, facilitating the shadows, readying the climb up the rope

In front of me were trees with limbs that lose leaves in winter but lean without effort in the face of death and wait, unaltered, for a resurrection.

I look at my own book. The title is there and it reads, ” The Library Does Not Open Until 10 AM”
My clock says 9:59 and I forget what I came here for. I look at the trees for an answer.

The mockingbird flies away as I reach for my unlock button. The trees echo her absence and look away toward her flight.

Walking to the library door is a task for faith and I feel my knees buckle when I see the sign reads ” Mon-Fri: 10 AM- 6 PM”

It is Monday morning, I am sure of that.

I peer inside. There are people inside and they too are faceless. When I turn back toward the parking lot to leave, the tic tac toe of cars is lined up for the exit and they are leaving one by one, pouring out from nothing.

I unlock my car door and get back inside. The clock says 10 now. I look back at the library’s front doors and I see the librarian unlocking them for the day.
She has a face beneath her rimmed glasses.

I go inside. The librarian greets me with a smile and the shelves are filled with books. They all have titles and they brim with color. The blinding thing that was happening is blinking toward the rope burned sun, regaining vision.

The church clock is chiming the 10th hour and the sun rolls her eyes and creeps heavenward with the rope in her hand. Come 6 pm, she will hang from the trees again.

J. Ann.

Denoting a scale of temperature by which grief is measured

A thermometer becomes the way to measure the temperature of a situation,

a nurses way to cling to something warm as she leads the
wordless funeral procession down the hall to a room

where a new mother will birth a baby who no longer has a heart beat, a life who will not feel the maternal skin that warms an infant.

The thing that divides one’s grief from another’s is a metal probe that glows cold with numbers.

a slip from the center

as the people central to our lives change

the old ones lose their place where centrifugal force is passive

they are pushed to the outer edges of the hearts

merry- go- round

holding white knuckled tight

to protect the head from hitting a ground-in- motion.

There is no fun in that.

I always choose to  play on the swings.

when boys have to be oak trees

The woodcutter’s sons
have no father in the
warm space between their
hard work and their laughter.

Their mother watches them
from the window as they give
manhood all that they’ve got
with a hatchet, an axe, and a saw.

It is a boyhood ritual of teaching each other what the
other may be missing, while the young ears and eyes are still not too proud to learn love.

The wood piles up on the covered porch as they walk tall carrying all of the weight of an oak in their bones and hearts,

watching the other
for clues into the secret society
where father’s don’t leave
and mother’s  aren’t woodcutters.

J. Ann.

Before going inside

The lights inside of the house
are looking bright from my place
here in the car.
Sitting. Waiting outside for your silhouette to cross in front of the curtains, open them, look out at me.

And this reality that all that is inside can be turned off with the flip of a switch is so heavy.

I’m afraid if I move, if I turn the car engine off,

the lights will go out
and you won’t be home.

curvature of lightlike places

I lay waking and sleeping horizontal between the curves of heaven and earth

I did not know  it is a silent place
where light begins and ends.

With each blink of the eye
the light changes
and I remain motionless

weightless and weighted.

Thin as a slip of paper
strong as it’s words.

The mowed grass beneath me is as warm as the air that kisses me from above

but this fine line of myself laying
horizontally inside of a space

only wide enough for open eyes closing

means that I will never see anything other than

the sun rising and  the sun setting.

J. Ann.