Crossed Eyes


A glossy photograph with eyes

scraped clean with black ballpoint.

Anger and pressure,

strokes of lines—

straight and circular—

penetrate white paper,

bringing it to the fore,

dehumanizing its former owner of its





over the smiling figure pictured next to it,




The Drop Off


Maidenhood aside,

your sex trapped me.

My fresh curls could not

compete with you aged mounds

of flesh I did not desire.


The fruity bubble gum should

have told me all:

the sickly melon perfumed

my car, ate at my stomach,

eroding my alliance,

down to a sugary decay of

falsehood and cunning.


Thinking nothing of sticky fly traps,

I shared my soda and

youthful dimples.


Instead of cookies, you offered love

and, of course, your sex

as the sugar started to saturate,

entrapping me.


The friend you left behind --

not the one that offered you a ride,

the one you had in me--

dashed off her fears and turned the key.


Sweetly, I spurned your desires,

but with all the sugar everything

turned sour.


I dropped off your unfulfilled

desires at your doorstop.

You will come to me again,

but I will not be there.


IÕve thrown away all of my candy.



The Reflex


The lead guitaristÕs butterfly collar

framed the half opened polyester shirt

exposing the sable chest hair that

matched his fuzzy head.

Shiny silver dress slit high

up the lead singerÕs

thigh as she begins

her scorching rendition

of Gloria Gaynor.


I will survive

Oh, as long as I know É


It  reminds of my motherÕs obsession with


All oldies – all of the time


Songs that tormented my youth

with a quick rotation of the radio dial.


Love, love me doÉ


The lyrics of one Beatles song or another—

nothing but a good oldie would do for my mother.


As I sat watching the misfit 70Õs band

leave the stage at the dive bar of my college existence

where I often drank after creative writing workshops—

sometimes more than others, sometimes harder than others—

the thoughts of the funky polyester pants dissipate

and memories of my motherÕs radio fade

giving way to another time when I was young,

and Duran DuranÕs ÒThe ReflexÓ

made everything seem so much easier.


© Jennifer L. Smith


Bio:  Jennifer L. Smith lives in Eagle River, Alaska.  Her work has recently appeared in Cirque, Yellow Chair Review, and Peeking Cat Poetry.  See more of her work at