Jennifer Rathbun

Goodbye Bouquet; New York in Our Hearts; Alone: Jennifer Rathbun

Goodbye Bouquet

Our goodbye


something like


music composed

on flesh with

touches of light

and oak 

mixed with salt

from my tears

and your skin

it tasted of 

your hands

holding my face

while you pulled

my lips to yours

never parting

your dark eyes

from mine

it left

traces of 

mocha and



and wine

hints of passion,

joy, sorrow

and love

our goodbye

tasted of you

and me

writing now


New York in Our Hearts

The sun shines in Ohio like any other spring

peeping out every four days or so 

some rays even warm my bare skin

children ride their bikes

while neighbors sow seeds of light

in their gardens flags wave happily

as people pass by walking to the park

with their dogs

you can hear the singing

of the birds that tend to their nests

and I swing on the porch of my house 

with the sway of sadness thinking

constantly about my violinist son in New York

he traded the stage for his dorm room 

and the spotlight for the sunbeams 

that filter through its window facing Grant’s tomb

the sole audience to his performance lamenting

the spread of death through the air

these days we all have New York in our hearts.


Not your powdered sugar lips

or the freshly cut mango

sprinkled with chile flakes

Not the hint of red wine in your breath

or warm bread straight from the hearth

no memory can sweeten

the bitter taste of eating

Sunday breakfast alone

Jennifer Rathbun, poet and translator, is a Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics and Interim Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Ball State University in Indiana. She received her PhD at the University of Arizona specializing in Contemporary Latin American Literature. Rathbun is the translator of numerous poetry books by Hispanic authors such as Alberto Blanco and Minerva Margarita Villarreal, editor of two anthologies of poetry and author of the poetry collection El libro de traiciones / The Book of Betrayals (2021). Rathbun was awarded the 2021 Ambroggio Prize by the Academy of American Poets for her translation of Cardinal in My Window With a Mask on its Beak by Colombian author Carlos Aguasaco. She is a member of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and is Associate Editor of Ashland Poetry Press. Rathbun translated Indran Amirthanayagam's Blue Window (Dialogos Books, 2021)