On the Way


My neighbor’s floodlight is out.
Could be a bulb needs replacing,
but I haven’t seen him
leave his house this morning

and this leaves me with only
a cold moon and a bare florescent,
the silhouetted trees
and my own heart shaking

like the last of the leaves.
Sometimes, it is not my own
but another’s steadiness
that sets the world right,

a man I barely know
whose simple routines
soothe me when I’m quaking
from too many dreams,

impatience and irritability
meeting words on a page,
coffee in a mug, invisible
channels pulsing between

mothers and daughters and
the lovingest of lovers.
I’d sit here all day if I could,
watching the light change

and change and change,
forgiving my enemies
and dissolving into the tears
that cling to the edges

of too many turns and angles.
Oh, to be a stone today,
to let the sun or rain or wind
have their way with my body

until I am softened, smoothed
over, a place for a bird to perch
or a lonely traveler to rest,
an unmarked landmark

saying yes, this is the way
to the ocean. Follow this stream
down, flow simply and keep going.
A vast horizon waits for you there.

Image: Eternal Path, Valentina Krochik

8 thoughts on “On the Way

  1. Katrina Kenison says:

    Jena, how l loved reading your words this morning. “Oh to be a stone today” — I also know that longing, to just abide and be, feeling less. And today would be such a good day to sit for hours and watch the light change. And yet, work awaits, as do the strands of life that need untangling and tending. So: a moment to read your poem, to allow it to sink in, to watch the light change. And then, back to the rest of it.


  2. daniel says:

    so wonderful–this poem…as you move from the steadiness of your neighbor (to you) and then to what seems permanent and love and daughters then to wish for permanence in this world (to be a stone)–to the impossibility of permanence
    Only the ocean.

    One of the best poems I’ve read about the shared situation of all of us together in life, the ocean



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