Bio: Jennifer Reek is a writer, editor and chaplain living in Santa Fe. She is the author of A Poetics of Church: Reading and Writing Sacred Spaces of Poetic Dwelling (Routledge, 2018), a work developed from her PhD research at the Centre for Literature, Theology and the Arts, University of Glasgow. Her poems have appeared in Amethyst Review: New Writing Engaging with the Sacred.
In the noonday sun we walk side by side, ready to put on the masks.But the street is empty. Nothing moves. Except the crows hovering, cawing, knowing I have peanuts in my pockets. In the movies crows are bad omens who peck out the eyes of the dead. My peanuts, offerings to leave our rotting corpses alone if it ever comes to that.
why must god always be man?you can make your higher powerany damn thing you want,a man once told me,but i knew he was thinking:as long as it's a manwhy not rock, water, fire, spirit, sun?why not bird, bear, love, mother?why not knitter?i saw god one time,and she was outsidethe glasgow glass houseeating an empire cookiesipping sweet hot teain the grey dayfunky big glasses crocheted hippy dress and cherry red huntersa size too big for hera wee hobbity looking thingshe picked up her needlesand clicketty clacked awayand it was, for once, reallyall rainbows and lollipopsthe light broke through the cloudsthe children stopped playing and gathered around heropen mouthed staringin wonder at her creationand they knew her, forshe had knit them in their mothers’ wombs.
Riding the train once seemed so romanticI blame Hitchcockthat scene with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Sainttheir flirtatious banter in the dining carthe way she keeps her hand on hisa beat too long when he’s giving her a lightnow every damn day I ride a trainback and forth, forth and backhome to work, work to hometrains older than I amthat can barely stay on their trackscreaking with age and painI look at the conductors with envybecause they’ve kept a hint of romanceI want what you have, I’d like to sayThat navy uniform and jaunty hatthe snappy tool that punches the ticketseven that cheap short-sleeved poly shirtthat I only know about because one morninga bold young man removed his jacketexposing both arms completely painted:mermaids and jellyfishanchors and mermendolphins swirling under the seaships sailing across the skyeverything in motion, blues, greens, goldsbursting forth no crosses orJesus cheesiness for this guybig, broad swimmer’s shouldersPopeye arms, like dad’s(dad could stay underwater for four minutes!)I like to think the Connecticut scenesfrom the train windows inspired the tats:white sails catching a good wind in the Soundlaughing gulls diving into the Housatonic I like to think the tattooed mansailed the seas himselfswam with the dolphins and whalesloved a mermaid as a mermanin ancient seas long, long ago‘I love you’ I want to say‘come sit with me and tell me tales’that take me over and under the sea.