I was supposed to be the subject

Of a painting.  Something with a bit

Of haze, maybe a light red tint,

A background of reeds leading

To open water.  Birds – but way off,

And painted more precisely than

Anything in the foreground.  Perhaps I

Would be in a dress, or draped

Like the goddess Diana, or possibly

Delicately naked, twisted

At the hip, seen from the back.

There could be a tree, perhaps Spanish

Moss.  The painter is yet to decide.

But I have been cut out of the production.

The figure now is to be nondescript,

The light all second hand.  There will be

Something ominous closing in.  Had I been

The subject, the painting’s elements

Would have conspired against me.  My own

Children, regarding the painting in place of

Lunch, would not have recognized me.

But for me to have known that the effort

Was mine, who the misty unrecognizable

Woman was, and the effort to gather it all

Together, would have been comforting.


I have preferences when getting lost.

Down a street I always knew was there,

But never explored.  A neighborhood

Rumored but unvisited, an annex

Listed but unread.  Imagine the lawns,

The prevalent style of fake shutters,

The percentage of homes with fences,

What sort of decorative bushes

Left marching all the way to the street.

If there is a man outside

Washing his car or edging the driveway,

Will he wave back if I wave,

Is there a kiddie pool

And are there children in it?

Were I to slow down for a better

View, will they put aside what they

Are doing, square themselves

Into a stance of protection,

Think of all the things that

Are theirs, not mine.  Will their eyes

Go into slits, and will someone

Smile and wonder who this could be.


Ken’s collections of brief fictions, “Constant Animals”, “Avenging Cartography”, “Revenge of the House Hurlers”, and “Engaging Cattle”; and collections of poetry, “The Book of Robot” and “Victims of a Failed Civics”, can be located at Amazon and most online booksellers.  He spent 33 years in information system management, is married to a world-record-holding female powerlifter, and has a family of several cats and betta fish.  Individual works have appeared in “Café Irreal”, “Analog”, “Danse Macabre”, “The Cincinnati Review”, and several hundred other places.  He has had seven Pushcart nominations without fielding a single win.

His website is  It has some good pictures of the wife powerlifting.  Twitter handle is @KenPoyner2.