Poem – “Alaska”



Alaska // by Jennifer Patino


I won’t claim you or call you by name.

You were my last frontier, that’s for sure.

You were the one that didn’t even

have a chance to get away–


before going away

we made so many plans

I waited up for you, did you know that?


–You crossed a frozen pond and showed no fear.

You skated in espadrilles across sand at the run down beach.

You said it was beautiful once. I asked if you’d miss

Florida sunsets. I asked if you’d miss light. You said

you would be more sad about the return of the Sun.

I said I was a night person. You said you knew.


From the bar to that

one girl’s basement, to the top

of the lookout pier


I wrote poems for you after you told me you

couldn’t say goodbye because then you would

have never left. We talked about boyfriends.

So many boyfriends. You too? You asked if you

could put them up on your wall. (The poems

I mean.) I felt like an old fashioned idiot when

I realized they were a digital wall for all to see

and not printed and pinned above your bed

or better yet, copied and written down on stationary

in your loopy script. I only know your handwriting

because you signed my yearbook. I wish

I had a letter from you. I hear you say

I miss you” in that whispery way you said

you have soft lips” after the photo shoot.

Of course I can’t hear you. We have yet

to exchange new numbers. (We never will.)

I just have a gift for hearing texts as if they

are characters of my favorite book in my head.


Magenta type comic sans,

too bright, and this is the pre-emoji

era so I was in less than three with you but you never knew


You started modeling. Pin up poses. Pixie princess.

Peasant skirts. Exposed tan belly. I pictured you

in a frozen castle faraway and there you were

in the sunshine again. In the forest again.

In a dark bar again, hiding from the crowd

in the corner, but this time you’re with someone else.

I told no one I missed you. I forgot about the poems.

The most beautiful things anyone has ever

written for me.” You said. We didn’t talk much

after that. It’s your fault. You displayed us. You

exposed us. You made them look at those

photos a little more closely every time they came up.

You made me re-think Truth or Dare. You disappeared.


Do you ever think about

Aurora Borealis and how

her aura looked just like them?



Poetry – "Still, The Blue, The Silence" – #NaPoWriMo Day 1

Today is the first day of NaPoWriMo! (National Poetry Writing Month) To celebrate, poets all over the world are writing one poem a day for the 30 days of April. Please, join us! www.napowrimo.net
Day 1:

My Grandmother, Margaret, as a young girl
(1939-1999) She is with her siblings, Gin & Skin (also pictured), now.

Still, The Blue, The Silence
by Jennifer Patino

It seems right that the room is blue. Baby blue walls. Baby blue lace curtains. Your lips. I give you ice chips like you ask for. I sit and listen to the silence. There is no dialysis machine to drown out the excruciating quiet anymore. I can barely hear your ragged breathing. I think about Blue Raspberry Slurpees to keep from sobbing.

On a swing she sat
Stagnant—she told me she just
wanted to go home

The adults order us kids out. We cram into my cousin’s car. Reba McEntire sings about how her whole world is standing still. I make sure you telling me that you love me repeats in my head like a broken record. I can’t move. Just like Reba. My sister and my cousins don’t even realize a country song is playing. No one is complaining. I wonder if they know, as I do, that we will never see you dance in the kitchen like no one is watching to Elvis Presley ever again.

Motown radio
provides the best soundtrack to
all her good stories

When the phone rings at our relatives’ house, I know it means you’re gone. It’s been about sixteen minutes since the last time I would ever see you. I think of watching horror movies until 3 am. The porch swings. One in the backyard, one in the front. Your red Grand AM. Your cigarette pouch. Crossword puzzles. How I swore you bled coffee. Medical devices. Catheters. The park. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! The sandbox…

I am in a Fisher Price sandbox looking after my baby cousins. Their mother is standing behind the screen door overlooking the yard telling me to gather them and my things. We gotta go. She’s gone. I don’t know what to do about me so I just take the little ones, who will never really know you now, by their hands. The parts of me that matter: all my things. Well, I think they’re gone with you, too.

The owl is sleeping
They wrap her in crows’ feathers,
take her to Heaven

It’s been so long I can’t remember if the room was really blue or if that’s just how everything looked. Still. The name of that song was ‘And Still’. It seems right.

Author’s Note: This poem is written in the style known as haibun. I had never even heard of a haibun! I hope I did it justice.