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


she’s not good enough
someone told her so
dripped poison in her ear
a long time ago

the mirror confirms
shows dull frizzy hair
a nose too long
ugly body when bare

the paper confirms
when she scrawls with pen
mediocre writing
no contest it’d win

the past confirms
no good deeds done
no sacrifices made
no battles won

the present confirms
a dull empty life
no one’s darling
no one’s wife

the future confirms
what she already knows
nothing will change
down that long dark road 

©2023 jai

Image by Mandy Fontana from Pixabay

Wednesday’s Child

I was not born to be happy…

no bright star shone down on me

when I was dropped headfirst into the world

red-faced, kicking, screaming

and placed in my mother’s arms—

the only true home I’ve ever known

instead, a dark star witnessed my birth

stepped out of hell’s black hole

took me in its cold bony hands

and christened me “Wednesday’s Child”

damning me to a life of woe

not for me fair of face or full of grace

a clumsy witch with frizzy red hair

who mounts her broom

and beneath an alabaster moon

runs wild with the night

night understands, night knows

what beats inside my heart

what tangles and twists my soul

it doesn’t question, doesn’t judge

night is my beloved familiar

there’s a certain comfort in failure

a happiness inside misery

a pleasure in absent feeling

for a Wednesday’s Child

who has serenely accepted her fate


I was not born to be happy

©2023 jai

Featured image via Pinterest

Inspiration for “Wednesday’s Child”

Eye of the Beholder

Cassie drifted up and down aisles stocked with mess kits, ammunition boxes, helmets, and such inside Big Mike’s Army Surplus, waiting for the few customers to finish their shopping and leave. Then she’d make her purchase.

Dark head bent, she browsed the racks of clothing that bristled brown and green and beige. She pulled out a camo jacket and checked its size, fingered a faded black tee. She examined a row of scuffed boots that lined the back wall, looking for a pair in her size. No luck.

She wandered on.

At last, the door dinged behind the last customer. Cassie approached the counter and peered down into the glass case. There it was—her salvation.

“What’cha eyeballing, Cassie?” She glanced up at Big Mike. He grinned around the unlit cigar clamped between his teeth.

“Um…I was just wondering…what does that cost?”

Mike’s gaze followed her pointed finger. His brow furrowed. “That thing?” He gestured at the slim, wooden case that lay open beneath the glass, exposing its shiny insides.

“Yeah. How much you want for it?”

Mike scratched his ample stomach. “Now what in hell would a pretty young thing like you want with that?”

Cassie had known Mike for years. He knew things about her no one else in the entire world knew, including her mother—most especially, her mother—but this was none of his business.

She pulled a wad of cash from the front pocket of her baggy, black jeans and plopped the crumpled mess onto the counter. She dipped her head, a fall of purplish-black hair curtaining her face. “I just want it, that’s all.”

Shaking his shaved head, Mike picked up the cash. “Kids these days, spoiled rotten. Think they gotta have everything they want.” He smiled at Cassie, reached out and ruffled her hair as if she were six, not sixteen. Then he began to count.

Cassie’s hand came up to her mouth. She chewed on a blood-crusted thumbnail.

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