Life/Lines - April 3

Submitted poems for April 3, 2020

A daily poetry practice to generate and sustain the Life/Lines among us, for published and novice poets alike

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Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines.


Today’s words were contributed by poet Aaron Coleman, author of Threat Come Close and current PhD candidate in the Comparative Literature program at Washington University.

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.


Poems submitted for April 3


Staple the branches together
To frame the window, a jelly-like hope
To see animals and light
Through the twigs, bark, and metal.
As they sway or snap, do it again
Branches, staple, window, jelly-like hope.

— Billy Acree



Las ardillas saltan de rama en rama.
Yo solo estoy autorizada para verlas
desde dentro, con mi jalea y mi pan, con mi respiración y mi horario.
Soy un animal que mira volar a otro, comer, defecar.
A través de la ventana los árboles me enseñan
las habilidades básicas para permanecer de pie.

— Laura Zavaleta



Claws against the window – branches or Bronte’s ghostly hand,
an animal terror that wrenches the gut, a nightly staple.
Is it desire or fear that promises to expose the interior soft as jelly and as red?

— Anonymous




Munching on my whole grain bread with jelly
I spied out the window as I was filling my belly
My eyes searched through the branches
For my yard’s animal, my bunny
Whose staple of grass was filling her belly

— Maureen Kleekamp



The wind sways the aspen's branches
Outside my window. They move like jelly fish
Float in the sea, where the swimming animals,
Staples of my dreams,
Hold their silent dance.

— Robert Henke



My way to the A-38
on the way in:
thinking. tactics. taxis. taxes.
global trees with local branches.
teas. fees in threes. buzzy-bees.
on the way out:
a dead animal stapled to the clerk's
window... clerkgy... orcgy... maybe
brain jelly between two brötchen hälftens

— Tobias Feldmann
(International Writers Track)



animal crackers in my soup
      monkeys and rabbits

branches bankings trusts
      staple jelly to the wall

possess control substance
      someone please crack a window

— Jay Buchanan



Save your soul
The animal inside is waking up
Tired of standing on a window
Holding the branches of memories
Wait my dear
Staple your anger
Spread it like a jelly on your body
Save you soul

— Jey Sushil

Track for International Writers



Purchase enough for two weeks, but only the staples:

-Bolt of cloth (sturdy)
-Feed for the animal (+grape jelly?)
-Memories (of the future, if available)
-Live oak branches (home)
-Color blue (sky and navy)
-New glass (for the window)

— Holly Gabelmann



Little known fact:
I hate jelly.
For most it’s a staple in P&J
I’ll just take the P.
My husband tells me to branch out.
“Without the J, the P just sticks to the roof of your mouth.”
Times like those I want to shove him out the window.
My animal instinct pushing me
to the brink.

— Anonymous



Animal. Vegetable. Mineral.

At nine, I played this game
forehead pressed against the cold window
unable to move until something shifted in the outer world.
Animal. Twin-pointed rabbit ears above the spinach in my father’s garden.
Vegetable. Plum tree branches quivering in the near corner of the yard.
Mineral. The slightly swaying wood-topped wire fence that made good neighbors.
Something beyond the staple jelly stains on my pajamas to remind me
I was still alive.

— Steve Givens



Staple This Note on my Desk

Watch every animal
and all severally branched greens
outside my home office window.
         2020 04 03                                        by Lloyd Klinedinst



Staples for quarantine:
books food dumbbells alcohol lube but
not the goopy sloppy KY Jelly kind
I’m partial to the silkier stuff and
I’m partial to staring out the window but
only partially envy the animal leaping between branches
It has only outside
but does it feel pleasure?

— Gabriella Martin



The Pantry
I’m old school they say,
Always prepared, never lacking
I made a pantry in my basement.
Not a window, but plenty of shelves.
There you will find Peanut butter and jelly,
Animal crackers and every staple I need.
My mind branches off to what if?
I’ll find it in my pantry



I hate my eyes and I want to cover them.
Cover the inheritance from my dad, the signature of my race,
Cover the window of my soul, as they would call it
Close them, but the sound of the world still surges
By endlessly asking me to cover them heavier, stronger
Or to disguise them, pretend that I have another soul
By decorating myself with another pair of windows.

— Wei Li



The Lost Season

Where do blossoms go when branches just beyond
our window shed the final leaves?

When every animal seeking warmth and dark,
burrows below a mat of fragile scrap?

Do blooms distill to lace the season’s jelly,
altering staple sweetness, made new for winter oats?

— Cathlin Noonan


crabapple jelly glistens like rubies
coffee warms my fingers

sleeping animals shift in their nest
branches brush the window.

these small moments
staples of my still, early mornings

— Sharon Derry


Spring 2020

Unstaple winter’s plastic from the window.
Spring hesitates to be born. The strange bird
leers down from the branches.
Something animal oozes in the jelly-like mud

— Jo Schaper


Could have been an episode
of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
BBC experts prying open a window onto some deep troubled past.
But honestly
A rusty staple through yellowed papers
is all that held those Creole branches together.
Just ask Jelly Roll

— Anonymous


He looked out the window at the animal
Through branches budding with spring’s first colors.
Acorns, the squirrel’s winter staple,
Lying on the ground
Ready for final harvesting.
Currant jelly dripped from a crust of
his own nourishment
this long, sad season full of hope.

— Kelley Lingle


To the marauding animal sweet’s a sought after staple.
A lidless jelly jar, syrup bottle, matters not if it’s maple
Rush from sugars empowers scamps up the trunk of my tree
Onto branches past my window, high on a treat so sugary.

— Ted


There's a sweet spot in the window
Where the branches look like fingers.
Graze your hand like animal
From captivity and let your legs
Shiver into snowflakes. Chocolate
Rain tastes like jelly scraped off the
Back of the pantry's staple.

— Sabrina Spence


First Days of School

A teacher, anxious to get back in the classroom, staples cardstock animals and trees,
welcoming students to Kindergarten via festive bulletin boards.
Each child's first name is written on one of the colorful paper leaves attached to the tree's branches.
Fall leaves taped to the windows announce the approaching change of seasons.
Before long, kids will bring in amber and yellow leaves ironed between sheets of waxed paper.
It's impossible to eliminate the lingering smell of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches after 180 days of instruction.

— Kim Lehnhoff


Sweet staple of life, like jelly on toast,
hides in the branches outside the window.
The hive of an animal with stinger and buzz, a
striped dancer with fuzz, a Nature magician performs.
Without any fanfare, gathers up pollen from stamen,
just a fine yellow dust, with some bee spit transforms—
Abracadabra! Flowers sweet secrets becomes honey.

— Bernie Mossotti


Grate, just great!

You staple saccharine lies
to branches outside my window,
season your rhetoric with limited
superlatives, spew prime time nonsense.
Your cloyed jelly remains unfit
for an animal, much less a nation.

— Linda O'Connell


Morning Repast

Time now to gaze through the window as I savor my jelly toast.
Observing all the animal action along the maple’s branches.
Birds and squirrels scurry and flutter looking for morning morsels.
Each of us satisfied with our staple of life.

— Karen Engelkenjohn







Headline image: U.S. Geological Survey on Unsplash