Poetry. Paper, perfect bound, 102 pp.
$15.95 plus s&h
2008, ISBN 978-0932412-591
Ghostly and energetic, Jayne Pupek’s poems range in content through an ambivalent abortion, a lover’s abandonment, childhood abuse, a bad case of the flu, and her own longings. Each poem’s graceful and intense meditations connect to the reader’s own world.
Wintering With a Stillborn
by Jayne Pupek
Powerlines collapse under ice-glazed trees.
I am in the dark, a place I sometimes visit
of my own volition. When I’ve had enough,
I hum a battle hymn and change my underwear
near the window where my neighbor might watch.
I’ve seen him crouched there with a flashlight
the nights his wife works late. Sometimes
he plays Vivaldi on his stereo, sometimes Bach.
He is not the sort of man to cum in his own hand.
With the curtain tied back, a milky light washes my room.
On the shelf, I keep a tin of slivered almonds
and a jar holding a fetus. Homo Sapiens. Female.
Born to another woman. I hesitate to name her.
Once, I rocked her in my arms so hard
her apple-doll head thumped against the glass.
I felt remorseful, but unchanged. You’d left that night,
returned to another life in which I am not a keeper.
Sometimes I pace the street outside your office.
I wear a black coat and stilettos. I’m your wife,
waiting for a cab to take us to dinner.
You are running late. I show the driver
our lost child. I fill the jar with handfuls of snow,
shake it until the baby wakes, her mouth open to cry.
Jayne Pupek holds an MA in counseling psychology and has spent most of her professional life in the field of mental health. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous print and online literary journals. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Local Girls (DeadMule, 2007) and Primitive (Pudding House Press, 2004). Her first novel, Tomato Girl, was published by Algonquin in 2008. Jayne resides near Richmond, VA with her husband, two sons, and a menagerie of animal companions.