Jen Stein / Poetry Fall, 2015

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G.J. Mintz laugh








 © G.J. Mintz; Laugh; Digital Photography


Chicken Pox, 1986

Through my skylight I could see the moon
smiling down like a pitted dead peach.

The cover of the skylight was warped
plastic making everything waver, even stars

moved, even the air. The window by my bed
overlooked the low sloped roof of the garage.

The shingles were scratchy on my knees.
I would go outside and howl at the moon,

bray as a dog, stand and hold my arms out
a T daring the earth to spin a little faster,

spin more and knock me free. It was a fever
mother said, when I saw the drawn skinless

face floating and bobbing above my bed,
gumball dead incisors pointed and fingers

pointed and dead sockets pointed and trained
and watchful. Shrieking in the halls of living

not dead. The fever mother said but it was
no fever it was crows and all crowns broken.

It was the field of mice that know no cat,
the jester who sits upon a cushion and throws

too ripe grapes, splattering blood where wine
should be the justice. It was salvation, it was

manna but I was frail and lithe and too eaten
and swaddled by bed by curtain, dully reflecting

the jellyfish glow of the skylight moon.

jen stein poet picJen Stein is a writer, advocate, mother and finder of lost things.  She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where she works in family homeless services. Her work has recently appeared in Rogue Agent Journal, Menacing Hedge, Luna Luna Magazine, Nonbinary Review and Stirring. Upcoming work will be featured in Cider Press Review. You can find her on the web at


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