Caprice

This year the seasons

mixed their metaphors

autumn stretched out for a nap

woke just before Christmas

and winter sang softly on earth.

 

Then today, as the wetlands

begin to peep themselves free

of winter’s homestretch freeze

the daffodil debs come out

to herald their short-sleeve season.

 

Pear trees bloom as geese overheat

lightning bolts across a rainbow.

 

Only the puppy plays

carefree, herding autumn’s

brittle bed of lingering leaves.

 

 

 

Corseted

            Lilian Irene Elwert 1885-1974

Birthed into high-button shoes

corseted by post-Civil War laces

unwed with a gap between my teeth

destined to teach, teach, teach

 

my diploma overflowed

with subjects I’d mastered

and now wove into my pupils

on the loom of the new century

 

then George’s proposal astounded

grand as the banister in our home

whose sprawling porch hoped for shade

from the tiny pine out front

 

dressed in thin cotton clothes

we fed depression-born children

from the dividends of George’s garden

one became a dress designer

 

one a dock worker, one a wife

the house emptied, yawned behind the pine

whose needles stitched a stage

for grandchildren’s summer games

 

soon I was left to bathe

and shave my husband

paralyzed then vanquished by Parkinson’s

leaving me time to repolish the banister

 

shuttle my winters from daughter to daughter

who seat me at their tables

let me mend and darn and iron

their girls vexed by the crisp crease in their jeans

 

Nancy Jentsch has taught German and Spanish for over thirty years at Northern Kentucky University. She has published scholarly articles, short fiction and poetry in journals such as Journal of Kentucky Studies, Eclectica, Aurorean, and Blinders. Her chapbook, Authorized Visitors, has been published by Cherry Grove Collections, an imprint of WordTech Communications (2017).  Seven of her ekphrastic poems appear in a collaborative chapbook Frame and Mount the Sky (Finishing Line).