Jacqueline Hughes Simon

Après Nous, Le Déluge

Attributed to Madam de Pompadour c.1757
I remember the year it rained 
so hard the Sun only came out 
at night. (You know what I mean.)

Still the rain came down. The children 
were bored and their teeth hurt. 
They were sent to the dentist, who 

dropped petals of mercury into their 
palms. They rolled them around, looking 
for their reflections, but were still bored. 

So a lot of them left. (More rain doesn’t 
always mean more sorrow.) The rivers 
overran their banks. I watched from 

below leaves gather on the surface 
and Eels roil the soft silt of my anger. 
It was a year that had never existed 

before, and when we cried, we cried 
those tears peculiar to dreams.

As to Radiance

Let me tell you of
the oddness of light.

How starting with fog,
there was hunger. And 

the dizzying strobe of
sun on sea illuminating

what you won’t remember.
I remember the smell of 

death and the various
scents of water. I wondered—

What is so enticing about 
shine? Even as babies,

with toenails the color
of Flowering Quince, we

have to learn to turn our
heads away from the Sun.

As to Discontent

Oh no, she said, not this
blue again. When she gets

this way, she breathes
without thinking. She

meant to be lonely,
but she caught a 

Squirrel’s eye. I’ve
become too impatient for

deciduous, she told him,
I’m a sucker for long-

tendriled plants. She
wanted to be dressed

in soft clothing, sur-
rounded by things she

was unaware of. She 
asked—What can I touch 

that I don’t want to steal? 
What do I have in plentitude?

As to Adornment

It’s winter, shouldn’t I be done
	with budding? I believe
that everyone should be variegated,

but I’m unprepared, like spent 
	roses. It’s as if my eyes
thought green was their birthright
and my lips thought they were
	rosehips. What does it 
take to be pretty right now? Trees

trying so hard, forgetting—first 
	flower, then fruit. Although
I’m unconcerned with my natural

state, in a world without beauty, how
	will we pay? And who will 
win this gorgeous experiment?

Jacqueline Hughes Simon’s writing has appeared in the Apricity Magazine, Cal Literature & Arts Magazine, The Cortland Review, Midwest Quarterly, New South, Okay Donkey, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, Perceptions Magazine, Pine Hills Review, The Rail, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. Jacqueline received her Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Saint Mary’s College of California. She is a volunteer and board member of an environmental education non-profit where she works with and trains donkeys.

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