Sewing annoyances,
I move from room to room
upon a mission of discontent,
like a specter
nobody wants to bother with.

Reflecting what we know to be true,
what my home is rumbled by
with each argument
and each tantrum
and each small jibe at a loved one
and each transgression
and each intimate eye roll,
I turn crooked what was straight.

In a calm, unfollowed,
my progress is easy and determined.

The wedding pictures,
the family photos,
the diplomas,
and even our carefully painted and welcoming name—
all turned crooked and set un-right
in warning of disrest.
A final turn of a recognition plaque,
and the walls reflect tensions
as if they’ve sustained their own bits of damage
and frustration with each day’s
continued regrets and accessories of disquiet.

Placated with the mirroring
accomplished in the walls,
my eyes slide along surfaces and figures alike,
watching for any impression of peace.

Satiated, only then,
I slide from room to room
as a specter,
intent on shadowing the lack of care
behind each smile, and upon each wall,
my own smile distended
and as careful
as a salesman’s
drafted copy, unoriginal
and false.


JENNIFER L. COLLINS is a tattooed poet and animal lover who grew up in Virginia and has recently relocated to Cape Coral, FL., where she and her husband have five rescues – one neurotic hound, and four very spoiled cats. Her poetry has been published in various journals and nominated for a Pushcart by Puerto Del Sol. She spends her summers as an instructor of creative writing and drama at the Cardigan Mountain School. Her first chapbook, Oil Slick Dreams, is available for sale from Finishing Line Press.