A Woman Who Shares Her Insights

Jack Kristiansen


might as well say

that she’s a bit of a crank


that she’s never owned or driven a car,

never taken a taxi,

and never, though drenched, accepted a ride


that she’s given up

the job of doing calculus in her head

to live on her inheritance

and focus on writing words

as illuminating as the streetlights

the authorities had installed

to shadow the walk home


that she’s wealthy enough

to own two homes

a five-hour train trip apart,

each with a study,

each with its different books and recordings,

each prompting distinct though not always antithetical thoughts

that clarify doubts


that she often enjoys the train trip,

though she sometimes can’t work up the courage

to pass out the pamphlets she’s had printed

to passengers who only pretend to read,

their eyes glazed with the certainty

they can afford to dismiss words offered for free


that, yes, she collects the pamphlets left on the seats,

committed to revise

till each word glows

more brightly than the headlights of passing cars


Jack Kristiansen exists in William Aarnes’ composition books, where is he working on a developing series that he thinks he will call Something Discovering Itself: Poems after Klee.  One poem from this series has been included in A Millennial Sampler of South Carolina Poetry and another in FIELD.  A third is forthcoming in The Literary Review.   


William Aarnes’ book, Learning to Dance, was published in 1991 by Ninety-Six Press, which also published his second collection, Predicaments, in 2001.  His first published poem appeared in FIELD in 1969. Over the years he has had poems published in The American Scholar, The Southern Review, and Poetry.  His work is forthcoming in nthposition, The Shenandoah Review, and The Seneca Review.  He teaches at Furman University.