Jean L. Kreiling


The Book Lover

From time to time, she’s satisfied
by paper men, her easy chair
a trysting place where none have lied
to her about how much they care.

Such men may lie to paper girls,
but that can give a plot some zing;
an afternoon with paper churls
sometimes outdoes a real-life fling.

And paper families never spoil
her mood or ruin weekend plans;
she’s rather keen on fights that roil
between the lines of paper clans.

Her paper pals will not forget
her birthday or postpone a lunch;
she likes these friends she’s never met,
an unseen but well-written bunch.

The paper doctors know the cure—
or don’t, and then there’s some suspense;
and power wields its best allure
in paper kings and presidents.

From time to time, the real world drives
her past annoyance to despair.
Who wouldn’t favor paper lives,
the ones lived in her easy chair?


She’d been alone before, knew how to be
a single girl, unaided, unadored—
no, wait, she ought to say unfettered, free—
and certainly that self could be restored.
She’d find again the pleasures of control:
she’d watch more movies, less ESPN;
eat ice cream from the carton, not a bowl;
and dial the electric blanket up to ten.
She’d set the car’s FM back to the news,
play more games on her tablet and her phone,
make more big salads, fewer roasts and stews,
and do the crossword puzzle on her own.
eBay would take care of the wedding gown—
but who’d take care of her across and down?

Jean L. Kreiling’s first collection of poems, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books), was published in 2014. Her work has appeared widely in print and online journals, and she is a past winner of a New England Poetry Club Award, the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Sonnet Contest, the String Poet Prize, and the Able Muse Write Prize.