Snow Moon

Snow Moon wakes to black winter sky
deaf and blind flies
full body bare
to longing stare

he watches on the earth below
restless lust grows
sets him afire
with base desire

he hungers for her pale, chilled skin
to plunge within
her cold, cold dark
and leave his mark

©2023 jai


Image by GooKingSword from Pixabay


crow arrives on nighttide

feathered aphotic revenant

slips in the window

while she sleeps

burrows its sharp beak

into her seasoned flesh

and tears at

the most tender morsels...




savors the sour flavors

of being hurt

of being fooled

of being played


she learns not to sleep

stays ever vigilant

lest crow

swallow everything

her pride

her independence

her reason

her life...

in the morning light

she sometimes wonders

if crow is real

is a force without

or instead

lives within…

a black cancer

of bone and blood

cawing chaos, while

beating sharp wings

within each breath

scraping claws

through fragile capillaries

frantic to escape

its self-made


©️2023 jai

Image by Angel Milostan from Pixabay

I Wait

sprawl in a wrinkled, uneasy bed
old demons and new share the covers
they jabber and snicker, toss and turn
chase away forgetful sleep
eyes on the shadowed ceiling
I wait for sunrise…

pour a cup of bitter, black coffee
greet the ghosts of past friends and lovers
angry and accusing in their stony silence
tears slide down surly cheeks
eyes on the cold, damp floor
I wait for sunset…

pace dingy, dark, shuttered rooms
regrets, fuck-ups, and what-ifs gather
lamplight glints on gunmetal gray
what you sow, so shall you reap
eyes on the bore of eternity
I wait for death’s release

©️2023 jai

Image by eberhard grossgasteiger for


home in my memories sets monochrome
monochrome walls, roof, and floor—my home
gray, the kitchen where my family prayed
prayed at a table of weathered gray
old photographs of yore yet sparkle gold
gold that never tarnishes, nor grows old

love cradled me in a warm, velvet glove
glove worn by Mother, fashioned with love
safe, was I, in that time, in that place
place of antiquity—nevermore to feel safe
childhood long gone, now rotting driftwood
driftwood littering dead sands of childhood

©2023 jai

mirrored sestet

Image by alefolsom from Pixabay


a child knows nothing

about the consequences

of the many roads

she will walk in life

until the end

when the last road is chosen

and for better or worse

she arrives at her destination

old, with no more roads left to walk

she then ponders

those fearlessly taken

the ones passed by, unexplored

the hurtful ones

paved with nails and glass

and she realizes that long ago

she lost her way

too late now

she knows, over and over

she picked the wrong roads

always in a hurry

she veered left on a whim

right on a wish

and only has herself to blame

for this damned dead end

©2023 jai

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

Barbed Wire Heart

wrapped tightly

in rusty barbed wire
the caged heart beats
listless and erratic
an out-of-time clock…

cruel thorns stab
draws tainted blood
that drips poisonous and black
down constricted ribs
forged by shame and blame…

©️2023 jai

Image by Birgit Röhrs from Pixabay

Raising Cain

The sun is just peeking over the horizon when I tell Maryanne it’s time.

She gives a quick nod of her head before taking a sip of coffee. “I know…gotta get the taters in that ground tomorrow.”

“It’s gonna be a good day for it,” I add. “Weatherman says it’s gonna be in the seventies with sun all day.” I head for the back door.

“I’ll be out soon as I finish my coffee,” Maryanne says.

I stop by the shed and get the shovel before heading to the garden. I’d just been digging a couple of minutes when Maryanne joins me. She’s carrying the hand spade for the fine work.

I dig down about a foot—that’s as far as I’d best go with the shovel—and lay it aside. Me and Maryanne drop to our knees and start digging more, me with my bare hands (I ain’t got a light touch with tools) and her with the little spade. And soon I feel something, push my fingers in a little more. “There he is,” I say.

Maryanne tosses her little spade a row over, and now we’re both using our hands. I hear her muttering under her breath, prayers, I reckon, ‘cause I hear “Lord” and “God” sprinkled in amongst her other fervorish words.

By the time we get him uncovered, Maryanne is laughing and crying at the same time. She tenderly brushes the dirt from around the closed eyes of our only child, Cain. “Ain’t rotted much, has he Tom?” she asks.

I work Cain’s shoulders free. “Don’t look like it.”

“That’s good,” she says. “Real good.”

“You want me to do it?”

“No, let me.” She begins working her arms under our boy’s body. “He’s so little, I can manage just fine.”

And she’s right. Cain was just three when he died last August. The hardest part of all this was getting him planted in dirt that hadn’t seen rain in pretnear a month.

When she has both arms under him, I take Cain’s hands and cross them over his chest and steady my wife as she rises to her feet.

“I’ll put him over there by the tulips,” Maryanne says. “Aunt Hassie said to make sure he got sun all day long, and a’fore dark, he’ll come back to us.”

I have no doubt the old witch is right, and tonight, Cain’ll be tearing through the house like he hadn’t spent the last seven months in the garden. After all, I seen it happen a’fore—with Maryanne. She’d died birthing Cain. And I’d planted her in the garden like Aunt Hassie had told me to, and come spring, I’d dug her up and laid her in the sun.

©️2023 jai

Image by Duccio Pasquinucci from Pixabay

Mistress Youth

youth is a fickle mistress

batting her clear green eyes

whispering in your ear...

I will stay with you forever

naively, you believe her

slug through the weeks

and months and years

thinking she will always be there

you live your days for others

instead of yourself and her, while

work and family obligations

mindlessly gorge on time perennial

time you should have spent loving

time you should have spent living

time you should have spent just being

time you should have spent with her

until one morning you wake up alone

she has left you for someone younger

leaving you old and worn out and used up

no good to yourself or anyone else

you see her out with her new love

and grow angry and resentful and hard

hating her for abandoning you

hating her for being happy without you

then, slowly you come to realize

that she did not leave you

you left her, long ago, standing alone

crying, ‘neath the glow of a fallow moon

©️2023 jai

Image by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay