Jean Howard


In the end,
the bees will huddle,
their vibrating bodies
still pleasuring their queen.

Crab apples, small
and wound up to descend,
will hang
for an eternity
before blue jays pluck
up their tight ruby skins.

Sudden stillness
will calm all the limbs
that jostled and fought
Fall's wild jabbings.

The sun will lay her hand,
warm and hennaed
with angles,
on their heads
and whisper,
"Sleep, my dear ones,"
as she submerges
like a mother
in a bathtub of suds,

Or like one
framed in light
in the doorway
who will never
be back again.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, performance poet Jean Howard resided in Chicago from 1979 to 1999. She has since returned to Salt Lake City. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Off The Coast, Clackamas Literary Review, Harper's Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Eclipse, Atlanta Review, Folio, Forge, Fugue, Fulcrum, Crucible, Gargoyle, Gemini Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Jet Fuel Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, decomP, The Tower Journal, Minetta Review, The Burning World, The Distillery, The Oklahoma Review, Pinch, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Penmen Review, Pisgah Review, ken*again, Chronogram, The Cape Rock, Quiddity Literary Journal, Grasslimb, Rattlesnake Review, Concho River Review, Spillway, Spoon River Review, Verdad, Wild Violet, Willard & Maple, Wisconsin Review, Word Riot, and The Chicago Tribune, among seventy other literary publications. Featured on network and public television and radio, she has combined her poetry with theater, art, dance, video, and photography.

A participant in the original development of the nationally acclaimed "Poetry Slam" at the Green Mill, she has been awarded two grants for the publication of her book, Dancing In Your Mother's Skin (Tia Chucha Press), a collaborative work with photographer, Alice Hargrave. She has been organizing the annual National Poetry Video Festival since 1992, with her own award-winning video poems, airing on PBS, cable TV, and festivals around the nation.

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