Jeannie E. Roberts
Jeannie E. Roberts writes for both adults and children. Her work focuses on humor, the natural world, and the human condition. She is the author of Nature of It All, a poetry collection (Finishing Line Press, 2013). A lifelong visual artist, Jeannie is also the author and illustrator of Let's Make Faces, a children's book. Her poems have appeared in Festival Writer, Verse Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets' Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, Quill and Parchment, and elsewhere. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jeannie lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. For more, visit www.jrcreative.biz.
I'm Sorry for Your Loss
(with euphemistic irreverence)
To most Americans, the word "death"
is an unpleasant term, offensive even;
so, in keeping with our denial-driven
society, euphemisms have been formed,
soothing substitutions that soften the blow:
I'm sorry to hear your loved one has
passed away or I'm sorry to hear your
loved one has passed on. Rarely, do you
encounter someone saying, I'm sorry
to hear your loved one has died.
Well, why not be frank about it? Pabulum
is fed to babies, not to adults (unless they're
missing teeth). And, why not add some
humor? Death should be a celebration
of sorts, not an eggshell walking contest.
Let's face it, we're all going to assume room
temperature, to kick the bucket, to fall off
our perch, to hop on the last rattler, to wear
a pine overcoat, to push up daisies, to up
So, since we're all just around the corner
from counting worms, let's be real―the next
time you find yourself tippy-toeing around
the word "death," with a wink and a smile
I'm sorry to hear your loved one has died,
but, by now, I bet he's having the time
of his afterlife sporting a winged overcoat
and picking rather than pushing up daisies.
Plight of the Mexican Cookbook,
in the Rural Midwest
Covered with the dust of days, her jacket pales
inside this shroud. Lack of use stiffens her spine
and her words hunger for expression. Stacked atop
the other outsiders here, Asian, Indian, and Mediterranean,
her angst increases and her desire to be an open book
The squad above them, HOTDISH DELIGHTS,
FAVORITE LUTHERAN FIXIN'S, and EATS―
DEER HUNTERS' STYLE!, like soldiers, line
in formation, ready for duty. Jackets shine, knowing
one will be chosen for service. Words engaged,
recipes deployed through tuna casserole and venison
stew, daily, they serve the family unit filling stomachs
with the meat and potatoes needed to survive.
Contrarily, that dusty (but desirous) outsider would
classify herself as a reservist, not part of regular recipe
duties, a weekend libro de cocina, la comida festiva,
sent into action on Friday or Saturday night's, opened up
for her tortilla o empanada delights! Still, she’ll be patient
and wait her turn, here on the bottom shelf of this jail
they call a bookcase.
Three of a Kind
One afternoon, around three o'clock, three wise men decided to go for a three-mile run. As they ran, the three encountered three blind mice, a three-ring circus, another running threesome, and, that fairytale foursome, Goldilocks and the Three Bears―three sheets to the wind! One of the three wise men stopped to ask how they'd become so intoxicated. Mama Bear declared, I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.ˡ Papa Bear exclaimed, One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!² Baby Bear answered sheepishly, Gosh, what could I do? It was a three drink minimum. Goldilocks smiled, stumbled to the ground, and said, Since I'd broken into the three bears' house, sat in each of their three chairs, tried each of their three bowls of porridge and slept in each of their three beds, the least I could do was to buy them a round (or three) of drinks!
So, we headed to the local bar on third street, Three Cheers!. And you know me, I insisted on trying the better part of three of everything! The first shot was too hot, the second shot was too cold and the third? Ahhh, just right! Then I tried three martinis, three margaritas and, well, you get the picture.
The wise man replied, That wasn't very wise, still I understand. I'm a simple man. All I want is enough sleep for two normal men, enough whiskey for three, and enough women for four.³
ˡ attributed to Mae West, actress
² attributed to George Carlin, comedian
³ attributed to Joel Rosenberg, author