Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

[Three Poems]

by Judy Reeves

This is How Lonesome Feels

The sun goes down and the sky turns dusky
And everything tastes like homesick
You drape the sky around your shoulders
And know how lonesome feels.
Every chord is minor
Every light dim
And if a stranger smiles at you, 
you see regret beneath the curve of lips.

You’ve been alone too long.
If you count the time in twilights
it would number a lifetime.
You understand moths dying for the light
The sorrowful call of the whippoorwill
The futile signal of the firefly

You imagine a lifetime of loneliness.
You picture your hair going gray 
your body loosening into a fold of wrinkles
Your best intentions pooled at your feet
How long since you recognized a face
Felt the touch of a familiar hand
A bowl of flowers on a kitchen table
An orange, peeled and halved for you.


The Geography of Home

These days, something about your Missouri roots that pulls at you. Something deep and deeper yet that you can’t explain. That dark earth where corn grows tall and green, where a girl can get lost in the fields. You remember staking tomatoes and the way your daddy taught you the intricacies of the square knot. How, one small hand over the other, you learned—right over left and under/left over right. A litany you still say when you tie back the bougainvillea vines, when you wrap a bow around a gift.

There’s no place better for growing peaches. Those boot-heels you can buy at every farmer’s stand along the two-lane roads. And cherries and cucumbers and green beans long as your middle finger. Dusty daisies blooming against green ditches and locusts in walnut trees, raising their song in a choir of summer hunger.

You wonder why, after all these years, the geography of home is country highways and gravel roads and farms with ponds where cattle stand, ankle deep in mud. And how the girl who craved California is now the woman who thinks porch swings and ice tea and long twilight evenings when fireflies blink bright as memory. And where you listen for the cicada song, and hear someone calling your name.



I want to touch 
your skin. I want 
to drag my fingers 
along the outside of you. 
I want to leave my prints 
on your wrists, the smooth 
inside where I can feel your pulse, 
the beat beat of your blood. I want to touch 
my palm to your thigh where your skin 
curves and leads like a path to 
somewhere else. I want to go there. 

I want to know you inside out. 
I want to write a poem on your back, 
word by word on the knuckles of your spine 
and let my ink sink beneath the surface of you. 
I want to stain you with my words, tattoo 
your body with my name. I want 
to be your second skin. Cover you. 
Draw tight around your 


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Judy Reeves

is a writer, teacher and writing practice provocateur who has published four books on writing including the award-winning, A Writer’s Book of Days, and Writing Alone, Writing Together. Her work has also appeared in the San Diego Reader; Personal Journaling magazine; The Frozen Moment; A Year in Ink, Vols I and V; and other anthologies.

Her next book, Wild Women, Wild Voices, will be published by New World Library in Spring 2015. Ms. Reeves teaches at the UCSD Extension and San Diego Writers, Ink, which she cofounded.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury