“For the Girl Crying on the Steps” by Jennifer Juneau

Jennifer Juneau


When you are loved by one man
In the rain,
In the cold,
In the wee hours of the night,
He won’t mind if you come to him
Freshly fucked,
Recently smoked,
And heavily drunk,
The whiskey spreading rumors
In his mouth.
It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning.
There’s chow mein congealing in the fridge
But you don’t need to be fed.
Your tears are nothing more than moon dust now.
At the crack of dawn,
You walk the vacant East Village streets.
A homeless man is staring at his heroin needle
In Mnemosynic contemplation
As if the piercing of his skin, the euphoric red rush, will save him.
You know what the need to be saved means.
You’re listening to that song, you know, the one your man played last night.
The cool, fresh watered sidewalk under your heels
Washes off your weakness to stay, not just there, anywhere.
You look into the face of the stranger—but which?
I’m not going to tell you. It could be the heroin addict,
The sidewalk washer
Or the man you were just with.

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


Jennifer Juneau: “I’m an exaggerator; that’s the innate storyteller in me. If I’m going to say something, it’s got to be entertaining. Mostly, my poems are slices of my life blown out of proportion with the use of language. I love to play with words, but I don’t search for the subject matter. As in ordinary life, the subject shows up, and I do what I need to do to form a poem.” (web)

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