Jan Day – Three Poems


Condo Elegy

Rain streams down
the glass door opening
to a view of the bay. Water collects
on the rectangular
balcony until it becomes a pool
shallow with
the appearance of depth.
Like death, memory
loses what it wanted to keep. Definition.

This is what you look like.
Gray everywhere. The bridge lost
in the mist. Drops hitting
the glass door, the balcony fence, the surface
of the bay. Water, air, light,
the shimmer
where you are.

Buddha Lamps

Glass Buddha lamps sat on her vanity.
Lace shades full of patterns and light
rising above and below.
The eyes stared past
the window to a far field
drifted with snow and the stubble of corn.
They belonged to my grandmother
who was used to frozen ground and a view of her own.
She said someday they’ll be yours.

Once a night, a freight train travelled
the icy track behind her home.
We listened for the whistle coming and going.
Carloads of coal headed to Peoria and Lewistown.
She took my hand. We climbed upstairs,
past the attic and chimney,
not counting the steps
to unknown stars, sparks
from the Buddhas’ belly.

Buddha Belly Bamboo

Buddha belly bamboo leaves
tremble in the dark
like the skirt of an old woman
waiting to dance
when there is no one to follow.

I stand so close
it feels like you are brushing against me,
rising up from your ashes
on the little Buddha statue
underneath the smooth green canes.

The wind lifts and lowers
the branches until I can see
dock lights reflecting on the creek below.
Blurred fire without the flame.
A stillness and then you’re gone.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Viewing beauty opens us up to new possibilities. Through some unknown process, it gives our spirit a reason to grow and understand more, to find our own creativity and fire. It’s then we begin to feel a greater spiritual connection to beauty, manmade or natural.  This nurtures humanity. Because beauty is so important in our lives we have a responsibility to its conservation and restoration whether it’s a perfect porcelain, a broken bronze, a smog-filled sunset, or a polluted estuary.


Jan Day lives in interior Florida where she says water and light come together to create not only a lushness of the landscape but also of the imagination. She has published five children’s books with Pelican Publishing Company and gives writing workshops for children and adults. She is at work on a novel set in rural Florida.  Her poems have appeared in Bamboo Ridge Anthology, Louisville Review and other journals.