Jennifer Lunden – Five Poems


Meditation III

Wednesday morning


+++++cat in the stillness


green eyes


We Have Moths in the Pantry

We have moths in the pantry.

It has gotten so I can kill them with my bare hands as they pass.

I think of the dust on the wings,

how you’re not to disturb it.



Thank you
furious crows
for calling my attention
to the impervious owl
on a branch
of the tall fir tree
while I
bundled woman gawking
stand craning my neck below
and my big four-legged beast
sniffs for field mice
under the snow



In Portland, Maine, winged things that have stayed behind:




Gray. Black. Brown.

I have lived in the city for a long time.

The winters are long and dark.

Some things stay.


Prey at the Window

Remember the pigeons in the barn?
The calm of their cooing,
their calamitous wingbursts?

At night I would call for your homecoming.
You came when I called, Gray Cat—trotted
homeward from whichever post you sentried,
dropped in the gravel on reaching the driveway,
and rolled, writhed, on your back; interminably
paralyzed by bliss.

Now here in the city you can neither
come nor go. The balcony’s your yard,
the birds at the feeder your only prey.
You’ve never caught one.

Today you saw a pigeon through the
kitchen window. You flicked your tail
and made your noises of want.
It’s too cold, too cold for an
open window. All you can do is yearn
from the other side of the pane.

Author’s Statement on Beauty

To me, the beauty is in the space between the images.

When we pull back, we can see.

When we see, we connect. We connect with the thing, and we connect with some deep
part of ourselves. We connect with some kind of longing, some kind of love.

Mostly, though, if these poems are any indication, I think beauty is in winged things. And
cats. And other four-legged beasts.


Jennifer Lunden’s poetry has been published in Sweet, The Café Review, and Poetry Canada Review. Her essays have seen print in Creative Nonfiction, Orion, and River Teeth. One essay was a Notable in Best American Essays; another won a Pushcart Prize. She is the recipient of a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, a Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarship in Nonfiction, and fellowships from Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. More at