Night Voyage

This asphalt sea demands skilled navigation
by white reflective runes on tiles of green;
a string of exits forms a constellation—
a map of stars with miles in between.
Black air protests my progress through the night,
like water hissing at a rushing hull;
my headlights make a splash of highway bright
but leave a darkness too vast to annul.
Without the roadside clutter seen by day,
I’m lulled by empty sameness at my keel—
but currents that could tempt my craft to stray
require watchful gripping of the wheel.
Day’s dry concerns will surface soon—but now
I just need harbor lights beyond my prow.


The Powell-Mason Cable Car

(San Francisco)

A roller coaster for sedater souls—
without the cerebellum-rattling speed,
without the screams—it climbs and dips and rolls
at stately tempos, limit guaranteed
by cable’s crawl.  The gripman clangs the news
of stops and starts,  and you won’t gasp with fear;
you’ll merely gawk at dazzling downhill views,
inhaling bay-enchanted atmosphere.
Hop on, and see a city that respects
its hills, a city built and then rebuilt
on steep grades where a fault line intersects
with fearlessness.  Instinctively, you tilt
into the urban thrill ride’s undulations,
a willing pawn of underground vibrations.


Towards Twilight  (Westhampton Beach, New York)

for my sisters and brother

We who truly loved the ocean stayed—
not sated by our afternoon of sun,
not bored as waves repetitively played
with wind and light.  The day was nearly done,
and still we stayed, our parents giving in
when we still craved the water and the sand,
addicted to the heartbeat-hailing din
of breakers’ bluster teasing tender land.
The less enchanted left—they’d had their swim
and picnic lunch, they’d found their perfect shell—
they didn’t watch the sinking sunlight skim
the water in its lingering farewell.
Our parents let us stay—and now I wonder
if they too felt the spell that we were under.


Jean L. Kreiling

Jean L. Kreiling

Jean L. Kreiling’s first collection of poems, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books), was published in 2014.  Her work has appeared widely in print and online journals, including  American Arts Quarterly, Angle, The Evansville Review, Measure, and Mezzo Cammin, and in several anthologies.  Kreiling is a past winner of the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Sonnet Contest, the String Poet Prize and the Able Muse Write Prize, and she has been a finalist for the Frost Farm Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award.