For my city girl

Thirteen, free, fierce, naïve, invincible, untouchable young sexy thing.

Eighteen, swollen eyes from first-love crying, break into a run in the park stiff leather boots, shin splints, making love to books for three years before busting out again.

Eight, chocolate ice-cream sticky chin at the zoo in the park, mother’s lap, rainbow room, calling to be tucked in.

Twenty-three, chain-smoking bronze skin hill-walking Spanish-speaking waif poet. I want to be the poem you recite in your sleep.

Twenty-eight, first-time pregnant, gorgeous round insane libido wholeness dreaming in names.

Forty, fifty, sixty, over it, under it, through it, above it all, inside of the circle the centrifugal force that no longer spins me out but holds me in. Soon come.

To be here, now, have it satisfy the vague distress of missing something, this ordinary me thirty-five, free internet access at the library, sirens turning corners reminding me of other places, other cities, other moments that exist nowhere but in the mind.

I miss your smile, your cheek, your eyes 80% dark chocolate, your skin the smoothest café cream, your hands, soft so loving and unafraid.

Lover I never had, the specter one I imagine, recognize the woman in a photograph a near-miss stranger, touched me once, fully clothed, channeling light.

Man I wrapped my arms around speeding winding back-country summer roads romance. You fucker never said I love you, can you believe I still think about these things?

Man I chose fought surrendered dissolved resisted and returned home to, you hide in corners can’t evade me oh how you try, you try valiantly, avoid me run and I call you out, call you, refuse to play, until you respond, let me love you.

Oh girl-child-woman-mother-street-walking-blast-the-music-pound-the-pavement you. You are right here, you are here, you have been here all along. You have never left me. Come take hands, put down your bags. Walk with me. I miss you.

7 thoughts on “For my city girl

  1. Mrs. B. Roth says:

    I adore your poetry; begging to be read aloud (after the kids go to bed). So personal and universal … how is that even possible. Good work.


  2. Beth P. says:

    I’m part of an annual ‘crone-making’ retreat here in Central Oregon. With your permission, unless of course you’d be so kind as to come do it yourself, I’d like to use this amazing poem as part of our work together this fall?

    Thank you, Jena–this is heart-stopping.


  3. Nerdy Renegade says:

    This is wonderful. Just amazing.

    How cool to express yourself in this way. And touch each of us who has these parts of ourselves all wrapped into who we have become in this very instant.

    I have been ‘recycling’ thoughts of my former selves a great deal lately. Right now, I’m about 20 (21 years ago). Seems that part of me (who in may ways was put on hold in favor of marriage, stability, career, ‘serious’ adult stuff) is now demanding her say. THIS IS WHO I AM!!! Indeed, as you say, she has been here all along, waiting for me to acknowledge her again.

    I started growing my hair again (for no intentional reason, I thought) after at least 15 years of having it really short. And guess what? I recently pulled out a picture of myself at 20 (when I lived in France) and my hair now is exactly the same as it was then! Wow!

    What a powerful cyclical journey we live, huh?



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