Selections from More than Moon | Jennifer Juneau
Ten Photographs of a Life
1 baby picture
I am an exaggeration. A russet leaf swirling under a smoking-cold sun.
Manipulated by a schedule of wind, I settle in a bundle.
I was admired on a branch once. I tried to walk and fell forever into a foxhole.
2 childhood portrait
My days are blotted out. My awkward body so thin. My voice sings like sizzling
chestnuts. A suddenness of Kindergarten guffaws—I am snatched by a hand
that smells like a latchkey. I turn to crumbs in a shifty fist.
3 photograph of a volunteer
I am the gold-crusted hay that beds the baby in the barn. The coarse cloth
of honey that adds flesh to his naked bones. Nourishing and warm. I am sunlit
and taste vague. I overflow to the floor and settle at the foot of a robe.
4 wedding picture
Shapely as blown glass. Clear and unblemished. A succulent lemon. Underneath sequins
my pulp is ripe and good. I am all juice, dispersed in a pellucid pitcher of water
and chunk ice. Granules white and sweet better my flesh. Here, I am in love.
5 honeymoon photograph
I am red humidity. Mosquitoes fester in my ruddy breath. A slow burning coal
prodded by a slice bar. I am the heat of fevers. A pulse convulsing in the a.m.
I crepitate. This is the practice of something new, if only for a bit.
6 photograph of a homemaker
All winter. Staid cold snow woman shaped near a well. I shed cretaceous flakes
when I cry. My orbicular three-part body is snow-white and bitter, bitter-cold.
I think and want coldly. I grope coldly. In pitch I desire bitterly.
7 another photograph of a homemaker
Gunmetal sky, pumice mist. The cobblestone well chokes with my tears in the form
of snow cakes. Snow my floor and walls. Snow my home. I snow. Solitary in snow.
Abstemious in snow. You inside my snow. Night snow black. Crepuscular snow blue.
8 bipolar photograph
Vitiated by undulating sun, my days are moribund. My spotty body turns to corn snow.
My threadbare limbs are ground ice. I seep into flat grass in rivulets as day decides
to go. What have I become?—I have no eyes. I am all screams.
9 vacation photo
I move through ocean grass with the flexibility of a starfish. The water is brackish
and pale green. I scrounge the seafloor of bronze-colored dust. Fetid scent
of crustaceans. I close myself inside a shell. Here I listen to the chatter of pearls.
10 future photograph
Inveterate moss. I have rolled on stones for centuries. I am many greens. I’ve scaled
castle walls. The ones I’ve climbed were lined with trees of muscadine. I speak in velvet
tones I speak so slow. A wizened emerald, expensive and wane, I wait for death alone.
First appeared in Poetry International 2005
There is a lot to ponder.
What if rain memorizes my address
and becomes my walls and ceiling? Asphalt,
my floor? What if I open my mouth to cry Mary
and it comes out marry, but never merry?
What if when the novel is finished
the paper in the book does not meet
the guidelines for permanence and durability
etc., etc. of the council on Library Resources?
There is a story, rather, was a story, about a little girl
who woke her mother in the middle of the night
(3:00 a.m. to be exact) and said, I’m thirsty.
This happened almost every night in her fourth year.
She wasn’t really thirsty, she was saying, I got a fear.
Fear of a dark room that echoes with my voice.
Fear of stretching out my arms only to embrace an empty space.
She deposits that moment into her memory bank
so when she hears the words, I’m leaving
you, she’ll be familiar with that kind of loneliness. Let’s back up.
A little girl is read a fairy tale at bedtime. She does not
remember the hard-pressed maiden winning the hand
of the prince at the end. She dreams of obstacles, foxglove.
The happy ending plummets from the book. She wakes
in a conformation solid as quenched thirst and searches
one empty room after the next for the prince’s lullaby.
She’ll search for that song the rest of her life
and won’t be satisfied until she never finds it.
First appeared in Poetry Midwest, 2007
night blooms, pitchy. if there is a voice out there chanting pithy vespers to tranquilize
evening’s pixilated mane, clearing its throat to recite, call it by my name.
center my pose under your loaf, dun moon—mother goddess you—like sparkling fruit
a vine-ripe bulb of muscadine. i’ll shine like a marbled goblet of wine: plump & plum
a still, still life
but never, never dumb in your full-bodied light. o, mother, mother moon
with your glinting skin
materialize out of flotage & brume, unveil the slack masterpiece that i am
minus your gloss.
feed me! am i noth-
ing to you? goddess, you are my life
& i, the gilded progeny
am an overwrought structure, carved by nature, curved
a stilted fixture, whim of your stature, i am indebted
to you, would fall to bed—
would wed—would marry you! dazzle me like juliet beseeching
a wary but better-for-it romeo, don’t take me slow, make me soon, my huntress,
bend here, not there, here. render me splendid—but never a fool—here,
First appeared in Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, 2017
Morning plans to unlove itself and day refuses to bloom.
I enter horizontally, an incision in a flattened room
where skylights like oxygen masks stained mulberry
reign above my private mid-hour, my blue cellophane.
Starfire plummets in a hurry: a grazing of bijoux,
a maze of ribbons darkened thickly. And still beauty mends no breakage.
In a pillow’s notice a tear-stricken face
shuns the unwelcome visitor in the brain.
I’ve tried to steer the big picture into another pastime
but morning rose like a slap in the face.
To motor: keep a car’s length from my frenzied fulsome
dulled with pain, careworn with scores of patchwork.
Oh no, not your heart, hard as a telephone pole. Listen: that’s not rain
tapping tin but the nosedive of a splintering pledge. The crack
in a muscle’s valve only saddens the tick. Tomorrow will wizen.
Where to the new embellishment? The replica of bygone lovers
embroils themselves into future embezzlement.
What concludes from a stockpile of grief? Who conspires unmoved?
First appeared in DMQ Review, 2006
I’ve misplaced time.
I look for you in a moribund afternoon
sewn into daylight savings. When
the light wanes from the earth’s outline
I look for you in a moribund afternoon
while engaged in prayer. Late to bed,
the light waned from the earth’s outline,
my body is half awake.
Engaged in prayer and late to bed
I search for six months ago
in the pocket of a clock set back.
I search for six months ago
in the dense grove of your lifetime
in the pocket of a clock set back
with thoughts of seeing you again.
In the dense grove of your lifetime,
sewn into daylight savings,
thoughts of seeing you again
First appeared in Switched on Gutenberg, 2009