"Through the Trees"
Evening Street Review, NO. 24, Summer 2020
"Schlepping on my coat, I exited the examining room, turned the wrong way, as I always do, and let someone direct me to the parking lot. The next day I flew to New Hampshire, rented a car, and drove south to Concord, Massachusetts. Sixteen years after swiping a poem from Thoreau's grave, I was returning to the scene of the crime."
River Teeth Journal, Volume 21, Number 1, Fall 2019
"I forage for leaves and reeds and seed pods––which tell me, with their symmetry, that there is an order and maybe a grace to things. From their pulpits in the creaking tree canopy, crows bellow their wild heresies with the bombast of Baptist ministers and, riding half-submerged logs, frogs elvis their velvety love-me-tenders. It’s a better noise than I get from the news."
"What's Happening Now"
The Main Street Rag, Issue 24, Spring 2019
"Complicated as self-governance is, it's not so complex as the contraption that creates the mind. Every once in a while, I google "elements in the human body" just to remind myself what, at our bare minimum, we really are, as if I can get to the bottom of things."
"The Long View at Zion National Park" & "Every Woman"
Confrontation Magazine Issue 122, Fall 2017
Jan Shoemaker was awarded the 2017 Confrontation Poetry Prize, Her poems "The long View from Zion National Park" and "Every Woman" were published in Fall issue of the magazine and reads of the works are available on the publication's sound cloud.
What the Whelk Shells Tell
RIVER TEETH JOURNAL Issue 17.2, May 2016
"Skirting the tables at Les Deux Magots, the little tabloid vender issued a salacious trill and patted his stack of papers. He seemed to have the goods on “un triste scandaleuse!” but he might have been calling, “Caps for Sale!” by the looks of him. Slim and mustachioed, in a small green blazer and flat cap, its tongue-tip of brim shading his brow, he was flirting with café-sitters in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, urging them to swap a euro or two for a morsel of gossip, its probability as weightless and delicious as meringue. When no one nipped at the bait on our corner, he scampered across the street to have another go at it, and Anna and I finished our tea and headed out to find un tire-bouchon, a corkscrew."
Boot Camp of Collapsing Forms
SUFI JOURNAL Issue 88, Winter 2015
"It’s hard to keep your foothold in a world where structures are constantly collapsing, where boundaries erode and old forms fall away—from cells to civilizations. Fomenting inside each log and lung and empire is an Arab Spring and it all gets very personal in my mirror these days."
The American Literary Review, Issue 3, Fall 2014
"Careening along National Highway 211 in the dust of western India’s Deccan plateau, I was quietly directing Anna when to let me die. 'If I lose both hands,' I whispered, gripping the back-seat door handle. 'If I’m paralyzed from the neck down. If I’m badly burned.'”
"Ellora" explores the international preservation of historic sites and the private struggle to ward off the erosions of age.
Colorado Review, Volume 41, Issue 2, Summer 2014
"The struggle against our own earth, that high-minded effort to see beyond our blindered minds or transcend the hunger of our selfish hearts, is perhaps the central conflict of our lives."
“Tenebrae,” explores art, family obligations, and religion. It examines our human limitations--in love, in patience, in the willingness to sacrifice--and the regrets that follow when we fail to live up to our own ideals.
The Enormity Club
Sufi Journal, Issue 84, Winter 2013
"The first time Adam and Eve, those innocent hedonists, looked down and blushed they got dressed and set to tilling and building and scheming and begetting a whole conniving progeny that got us where we are today--shrewder certainly, but bereft of the old sense of connection to the blooming, breathing rest."
In examining the dismay we feel at the disappearance of the people and things we love, "The Enormity Club" explores boundaries and wonders if we are as separate as we think we are.
MAKE Literary Magazine, Issue 13, October 2012
"My question got a varied and thoughtful response by students eager to comment and pass the baton, and then it got to Felix. 'Free will is an illusion,' he began in the arch and fastidious tone he employs, which gets right under the skin of the other students who bristle visibly at the arrogance he has not learned to conceal. He probably has twenty IQ points on all of us which, with a little modesty, can work in high school, but Felix hasn't figured that out."
"Believer" takes us back to high school (dear God!). It explores the noble mission and nature of public education. Plus there is tail-gating.
Koans From My Mother
The Sun, Issue 391, July 2008
"I WAS DRIVING my mother from my sister Sue’s house to my own home last June when she said, 'Sue has been my daughter her whole life. Why don’t I know her mother?'"
"Koans From My Mother" examines the radical upheaval of family life that occurs when one person is afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease.
Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction Volume 9, Number 1, Spring 2007
"My father began dying a year ago this Labor Day weekend. It would take him six months to work his way out of the world but we, my sister Sue and I, didn't know that when we found him lying on the floor beside his bed. 'Dad,' I asked gently. 'What happened?'
'A big-shot slipped me a mickey,' he groaned, trying and failing to heave himself up. Big-shot? Mickey? Had he been watching old gangster movies on cable during all of those insomniac nights that had followed one another over the past few years, gray and vaguely threatening, like suspects in a lineup? 'He thinks he's a big-shot,' my father continued, sure of his facts, 'but he's not.' "
"Big Shot" examines the dynamics of loss and the nature of impermanence itself.
Where the Water Is
The Sun, Issue 366, June 2006
"Where the Water Is" was published by The Sun in 2006 and is read by Trinity Rep Radio Theater on National Public Radio in January of 2008.