Jean L. Kreiling


Resisting Metaphor

Love isn’t blind—she’s seen an awful lot
of toilet seats left up. She knows she’s not
his better half, but one whole human being,
and pillow talk is mostly disagreeing.
The heights of passion still remain half-scaled
and seemingly too steep, his kiss has failed
to move the earth, and bells she should have heard
lack clappers. Lovesick? No, she has been cured.
From now on, she’ll trust objectivity:
she’ll live in literal reality,
unmoved by metaphor. She’ll make her bed
and lie in it alone; she won’t be led
by poetry and songs to trust the lies
she reads in those dark pools that are his eyes.


Cardiac Quatrains

1. Health Care Paradox

I’m grateful for the expert care I’m getting
in visits to my cardiologist—
but I confess I find it most upsetting
to be someone who says “my cardiologist.”

2. The Procedure

The valve must be repaired—it’s clear to me—
the doctors and their tests have been persuasive.
But gee, I do wish that the surgery
was one they could call “minimally invasive.”

3. To My Surgeon

I’m looking forward to the lengthy nap;
I’m confident that I’ll wake up on cue—
your complex work complete, with no mishap—
but then again, it’s really up to you.

4. In the Recovery Room

I wake up feeling groggy, sore, and weak,
the slicing and the stitching finally done.
Although I’m told that now the valve won’t leak,
I’m not quite ready for a 10K run.

5. Retrospective Music Appreciation

My surgeon has a gift; he never faltered.
Untrained in music, and with no baton,
he stopped the rhythm of my heart and altered
the way it kept time, so it could play on.

Jean L. Kreiling is the author of the recently published collection, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books, 2014). Her work has appeared widely in print and online journals, including American Arts Quarterly, Angle, The Evansville Review, Measure, and Mezzo Cammin, and in several anthologies. Kreiling is a past winner of the String Poet Prize and the Able Muse Write Prize, and she has been a finalist for the Frost Farm Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award.