Green Hills Literary Lantern




Never Let Them Say I Wasn't There


Anyone who like I do lives beneath the sky

and notes how it stretches from the top of my head

 (hair curled and glamorous) up beyond arm's reach

and out (blue arches, blue arches) must know

we are all one together under such a nice umbrella

whether we are short or tall.  It doesn't matter.


What matters is the fact that up you show.

He had a birthday party on the other part of town

and neglected to invite me, not an error

of the mailman but his own.  Did I mope at home?

Indeed, not me,  I was the one

who granted him his wish without a tissue paper hat

much less a snapper, making sure that all the candles snuffed

by blowing through the branches of his private privet hedge

when his sissy thin (mint-chocolate chip) breath was not enough.


Sometimes even I feel low, affectless,

can't show my face in an espresso bar

when I may munch instead into a second-hand book store

to guzzle up the yellow-paper smell.

"Whistle Stop," authored by a (then) pretty girl

in the early 'forties.  Mary, her heroine,

an unuttered passion, small-town sophistication, pompadour.

I have read the story through four times at least,

four times made my mark on it.


Everyone owns a television set.  I know I have one.

When the rains engulf the plains states and your river gulps your homes

I am there bringing forbearance, although I don't get wet.

Moments later I can join together through the internet

dozens of other souls equally compassionate.

My blue arches sing around a twinkling weave of wires

meaning no one need go without suffering anymore.


One a summer day the grawk and swank of bagpipes

filled the fairgrounds. Muscled caber tossers tossed their wares

one after another, again and again all morning

then again until the afternoon collapsed.

Even those with strapping husbands, sons in competition

stood like weight, faces drawn in boredom,

and I, who had acquaintance with none of those chaps

stayed until the last caber poised on end, quivered, then fell flat.



Jean Esteve, a painter (rocks, trees) and poet, lives on the Oregon coast with Gracie and Jocko, two spaniel-sorts. Her poems have appeared in past issues of GHLL and other new ones are scheduled for publication in Chiron Review, The Iowa Review and Pleiades. Her work has also been included in anthologies from Fine Madness, Presa Press and Year's Best Fantasy and Horror.