Go back

                                                                                                Jennifer VanBuren



beside the red barn door

The boot print
you left in the snow
grows outward as it melts.

Someone like me might believe
a giant walked this endless field
with a slow stride that stretches across seasons.

Your last frozen prints
disappear into the spring-snow grass
that leaks its green into the landscape.

First published in Free Verse 2005



Eel skin bound

set out, propped up by reputation
he discovers onion-skin eyelids filter more
when open wide.
pupil slit narrows
and tongue flicks the air
for a taste of pressurized jasmine
that sends the signal

there is nothing worth biting here.

and certainly, it is a well known fact,
verse bound in eel skin stands more of a chance
of being fondled by lady fingers
that linger over perpendicular lines,
upright and leather tight
straight to reptilian brain.

and she says,
to thick skin a bite is as good
as a kiss...


his finger holds his place across
translucent skin stretched over the hollow of her back
as he pages through her latest verse
tattooed on the inside.

First published at Poetry Superhighway 2004



Metaphors are nothing like Venice

I pull the red wagon down back alleys
to hunt the elusive metaphor
as if hidden in the bricks,
requiring a twisted hanger for extraction.

I alone beg for parcels of Europe
in the back yards of Baltimore townhouses
where striped umbrellas become a gondolier's shirt
wrought iron table and chairs
become an outdoor cafe
with chocolate spread on toast
and coffee to die for

wait...that was Venice too

as is sump pump water
that runs down the middle of this V sloped alley.
It washes colored glass pieces
fallen from Friday’s recycling truck,
green and amber triangles pressed smooth
into a summer soft tar mosaic

But this counts for nothing.
No clever literary trickery.
No sleeveless magic.

Tonight metaphor has become calculus
requiring differential equations
or greek symbols.

We recite elementary patterns
loves me
loves me
loves me not

upping the odds
on the daisy wheel of probability
while counting cliches
that disappear down the back alley canal.

Just like Venice.

First published ‘remark 2005



gulf stream

My mind can stretch into fantasy
like tendons under Jane Fonda's
pink leg warmers
as she lifts them behind her head.

But I prefer the reality of your thighs
as they shift to allow that stretch of skin and flesh
under cotton, how the nipple on my left breast
hardens and aches
and points for attention like Jane
straddling the anti-aircraft,
leaving the vinyl seat damp
with condensation.

Oh for the thrill
of fucking the sky
until clouds bleed virginal death
and drops diffuse and disappear into the light blue ribbon
of the warm river that flows straight through the cool ocean water.

I did not dream that current.
It is real.
It carries the ships and fog
and empty shells
onto my shores.
It is real, as real as the salted rain
you drop to my lips.

You must have known I would lie in this mud
awake, waiting.

Your boot nudges my side
right below the ribs
to see if there is motion.

First published Turk Magazine 2005



                                                                                                © Jennifer VanBuren

triple rule

Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 — Vol. I, No. 2
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