Poems by Jill Kelly


A grief few talk about

There is a grief few talk about
outside sheltered rooms of strangers
The loss of friend, of lover
that demon drink who held us in thrall,
kept us asleep for years

Gone now—good riddance
but mourned as well
deep in the night
or at odd moments
at a stoplight or in a grocery store

Most of those he captivates
have not the courage to leave—
life without him unimaginable
A few of us though reach a point
of despair so acute, so grave
That we cannot live and we cannot die
Then something true in us awakens
and we close that door

His siren song still beckons years down the road
The body yearns, but the heart says no
And bit by bit we unwrap
the black band from our hearts
and come back to the living


13 Ways to Use a Painting

  1. Place it in a window to remind you of the beauty of the world.
  2. Attach it in a doorway as a reminder to pause in passage.
  3. Curl up beside it on the sofa and write down your dreams.
  4. Cut it into small pieces and feed it to your guests with a tiny cup of Middle Eastern coffee to cut the richness.
  5. Gather its edges and transport your longings in it.
  6. Wrap your heart in it and give it away.
  7. Wear it as a cloak of mysterious kindness.
  8. Ask it an impossible question and heed the answer.
  9. Skype with it and listen to its wisdom.
  10. Project it onto the walls of prisons so it can open the cages.
  11. Run it up a flag pole to celebrate the independence of thought.
  12. Put it in an envelope and address it to God.
  13. Step through it into whatever is next.