Tuesday Poem: ‘Love Solstice’ by R Jay Slais

Love Solstice

After her smile fades
a bee sleeps in my mouth.
The sunset has no teeth.
Lips are frozen;
a window thick with frost,
all night, the cold finds lost needles.
Widower in the wind,
horny fleas construct their brothel
on the wing of a flightless dove.

Breathing is a fierce storm
when the sky is full
of wet eyelids,
the language of torn dead leaves,
like the scurry of mice
around the feet
of a cold weathered monument.
Her loss is a suffering
that will never be carved
on the subterranean stone.

In the absence of flowers,
a bewildered man,
even the fault line shake
of morning wake
does nothing but loosen
the frail balance of growth.
A single seed,
endosperm cap weakened
to permit radicle emergence,
drowns in a rush
of Spring rain,
never to root in soil;
the echo of sad voice
despoiled by time and tears.

Waving at my shadow
on concrete,
a gaunt gray man,
lacking contour waves back.
That lonely walking dove
one eyes the sun
seeking nothing but warmth,
a voice, a seed to split.
We are blinded,
unable to find the threshold,
her name,
only a memory on my mouth.

Originally published in Barnwood Poetry Magazine

Today, March 11, is my oldest brother’s birthday. Born in 1963, Marc never made it past 31. He died, along with my other brother Kirk, their friend Ray and one more man,  in 1994 in a plane crash over the northern New Mexico mountains. The plane crash happened on March 16, less than a week after Marc turned 31.

I’m so pleased that R Jay Slais contributed this poem for my blog today. He writes powerful poetry and his rich images linger for days after I’ve read his work. This poem has nothing to do with my brother, of course, but it has everything to do with life, love and memory — things this poet knows a good deal about.

Thank you, R Jay Slais.


rjay rose2About the poet:  R Jay Slais, a former art major in college, is an engineer/inventor and writer living in Washington near Romeo Michigan. He considers his greatest accomplishment in life the years spent raising his children alone as a single parent and now that they are young adults, he misses all the drama and stress. His work has been published at Barnwood Poetry Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, MiPOesias, The Pedestal Magazine, Poets/Artists, Press 53 = 53 Word Story contest winner, and many other journals and magazines. He’s had a few Best of the Net nominations and hopes someday to make the cut. There is one 15 line poem he has worked on, revising it now for over 8 years, spending over 100 hours on it and it still remains unpublished. He’s the author of the chapbook, Mice Verses Man, (2010 – Big Table Publishing).


Also, for interested people, don’t overlook the Sarah Broom Poetry Prize competition, with a deadline this Friday, March 14. Details here.


Tuesday Poem is a collective of poets who share poetry on a weekly basis across borders and time zones. At the TP hub this week, you’ll find ‘The Votive Angel’ by Moira Wairama posted by Hub Editor Andrew Bell, plus poems by the various TP collective members.  Look down the left-hand sidebar and click on each one to see their weekly contributions.

Tuesday Poem For more Tuesday Poems, go here.


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7 Responses to Tuesday Poem: ‘Love Solstice’ by R Jay Slais

  1. racheljfenton says:

    A beautiful poem and a moving tribute to the life, love and loss of your brothers, Michelle. It’s a privilege to read this post. Thank you.

  2. R Jay Slais says:

    Thanks so much for sharing my work in your Tuesday poem series Michelle, I am very honored. I was also blown away by the email response you sent to me. For a writer to receive a note like that, especially from another writer is a true gift, very humbling. Thanks. Also glad to share this in remembrance of yours and my lost brothers. All my best dear friend. R Jay

  3. ajponder says:

    Thank you Michelle, a poem that needs to be read several times for full impact. How brave you are to post, today of all days. And like R Jay Slais, I have to reiterate what a thoughtful and generous poet you are, all the best.

  4. Thank you, Rachel, Alicia, and R Jay. For reading and sharing. For the lovely comments. For the community and the sense that we are all connected. Beautiful. Here’s to you and your brother, too, Bobby. I am thinking of him today too.

  5. Claire says:

    Dear Michelle and R. Jay – thank you for this unexpected gift. I, too, lost my older – too young – brother; the anniversary of his death not long past. Thinking of you and the ways in which we are all connected through sorrow and, too, in love, life and joy.

  6. R Jay Slais says:

    I appreciate all the reads and comments. Thank you again Michelle!

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