Jennifer Read Hawthorne

A New Language


She reached out
to catch me as I fell.
Let me help you, she urged,
completely at odds
with the hands-off, codependent-no-more
mentality reigning in my world.

She beckoned me to her home,
a Tolkien universe. Past the guard,
the trees were wondrous creatures—
twisting moss-covered live oaks,
palms in brilliant greens,
washed in a diffuse golden light,
like a filter of enchantment
in the hands of a skilled photographer.

The house was pure Florida, a postcard,
with a touch of Havana and Hemingway.
Inside, slow-moving ceiling fans,
dark, rich wood and wicker,
a writing desk that held a file of inspiration
just for me.

Her teaching was pure,
a new language that landed
in my eye of knowing,
wrapped itself around my thoughts
and dropped into my throat and heart.
A shift from asking to claiming,
life as a prayer.



D Street

I’m on D Street, she loved to announce
from the car, voice bright as a star
on a clear Iowa night.
Then an excited recitation—
what she’d bought at the farmers market,
how many deer she’d startled at Jefferson County Park,
which mulberry trees had let loose their bounty.

D Street. Code for our street, almost home.
Or I got something especially for you.
Or I gathered silence at the park today
and can’t wait to share it with you.

Across the country, we live on a boulevard now.
The park is riverside—no deer, no berries.
But she still calls on her way home from anywhere.
I’m on D Street, she tells me,
only five minutes away
but unable to contain the joy
of impending reunion.




Jennifer Read Hawthorne is an inspirational keynote speaker, book editor, and author/coauthor of seven books, including the #1 New York Times best seller Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. Her poems have been published in Soul-Lit, On the Veranda, and Amore: Love Poems. She lives in Vero Beach, Florida, nourished by the ocean and flowering palm trees.