February 2, 2016

Five Poems And Artwork By Jennifer Criss: "At the end of the line", "It takes so little", "Mother", "Awake","Full Circle"

Jennifer Criss graduated from Ball State University with a minor in Creative Writing, a life long passion.  She is currently collaborating on an anthology for older adults and helps lead a writing support group. Jennifer writes mostly short stories but has discovered a love for writing poetry.  Her poetry has been published in Poebita Magazine. She now works at Ball State, is a busy mother of two girls, but her pen keeps moving. She is an editorial assistant with Indiana Voice Journal.

IVJ Criss Feb 2016 Artwork
Artwork Courtesy of Jennifer Criss

At the end of the line

I watch the woman on the bus stare out the window
Does she read the street signs or watch the people?
Her reflection stares back, but without the wrinkles
A perfect rendition of a former self
before the heartbreak and the struggles
I watch the woman on the bus stare out the window
and I think about her life instead of wallowing in mine and wonder
Who is waiting for her and the end of her journey?
Because that’s the thing isn’t it?
Who’s going to be there the end of the line.

It Takes So Little

She can laugh at the smallest of things
Artwork Courtesy of Jennifer Cress
It takes so little
Loud giggles ring out and fill the room
She has no idea
That we’re watching her
It’s just so easy to be young
Before life wears on you
To be carefree
Before worry sets in
It takes so little

She turns to tell her mother the most wonderful, fantastic , exciting thing
But when she turns her mother isn’t there
She’s a few steps back, attention held elsewhere
Just like always- just ever so slightly out of her reach
She turns back and moves on-
forgetting the most wonderful, fantastic, exciting thing she was going to say


The room cloaked in darkness
The only light a strip of moonlight
Dripping through the curtains across the carpet
The only sound is the gentle hum of the ceiling fan
You’re awake, still awake
Thinking about every goddamned thing
as if it were life and death
stop, turn it off, let it go
but it won’t stop, it won’t even slow down
you’re awake, still awake
watching the clock as seconds, minutes, and hours pass
you can’t solve the world’s problems
in your bugs bunny pajamas
you weren’t even asked to
those problems, they’re not yours
you’re awake, still awake
no closer than you were hours ago
stop, turn it off, let it go

Full Circle
Soft cries, snuggles, and coos
Toddlers, wails, and boo boos
Crayons, blue jeans, and books
Homework, attitude, and dirty looks
Sports, calendars, Friday nights
Studies, parties, occasional plights
Road trips, new jobs, Sunday night calls
Pictures, emails, and meeting in-laws
Distance, struggles, exciting news
Soft cries, snuggles and coos.

~Jennifer Criss

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