Jennifer Novotney

Shadows Light streams through the windowelongating shadows of shapesthat melt into the carpet like honeythe long spindles of wood from the rocking chair’s backthe soft waves of the curtains that frame the glassthe curve of the devil’s ivy like a cup holding the morning dewmy dark image, just a silhouette of my faceas if a shaving of myself was taken, placed therereduced to a sliver, maybe betterthan the full versionthat small slice the honest, purest, truest parts.I trace down my puff of hairacross my foreheadto my cavernous dip where my eye should besoft eyelashes like wisps of feathersthe swoop of my nosegraceful as a swan landing on watermy two lips like bowsbefore the round precipice of my chinthat falls away at my necka sharp angle like a cliffwhere a waterfall might springor the slow circling of a hawkover hallowed ground.

This Moment The bright orange, yellow familiar glowof the sun peeking overthe mountain’s ridge fills the house.Our winding road glistensfresh with last night’s rain.A blue jay spreads his wingsflutters seamlessly from leaflesstree to tree backdropped against strayclouds, gray white against the powdery sky. I make my teawhile sweet music fills the housethe cats’ morning song as they cry for foodfootsteps upstairs, rumbling of the heaterkicking out breaths of warm air.It is hard to imagine that every morningwill be like thissmooth and comfortablelike an old, worn pair of shoes. This moment like a little speck of dustsuspended in mid-air, yet fallingfaster than I can seedisappears into the universeimpossible to locate or replicatereplaced by other minuscule specimensthat float through timealready created and waitingfor their cue to arrive.

We Return to the Earth This is the endless road we travelwhere the sky opens uplike white doves descendingupon us.The sun shines only briefly, breakingthrough the bars of cloudslike a prisoner.The fox has returnedto his holeleaving tracks in the wet, wild earth.My bones shiver with saturated snow.We step across fallen branchesto which we belong.We become the treesprouting new life each springlying dormant each wintercoming up through the rootslike blood through veinswhen we feel the soft snowflakes settlingon our boughs.

Jennifer Novotney holds an M.A. in English from Northern Arizona University. Her work has appeared in English Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Unbroken Journal, and The Vignette Review, the latter for which she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 2014, she won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for her debut novel, Winter in the Soul. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA and lives in North East Pennsylvania with her family where she teaches English and creative writing.