“Happiness” by Jennifer Blair

At the Odds and Ends down 441 my daughter’s
eyes will not let go of the small ceramic owl she
spied perched among old dishes and mystery
novels soured by cigarettes and age.  When I
see the tag on its back only asks for twenty
five cents, I quickly place it in her hands and
she carries the brown bird carefully as we
browse up and down aisles of stitched linen
and hurricane lamps. When we finally bring
our things to the counter, however, it suddenly
flies off—almost of its own accord—under a
table of postcards carefully assorted by states.
I apologize, stooped on my knees looking for it,
face flushed hot because mothers do that but the
old man sitting behind the lone register only
stands, slowly takes off his cap, and scratches his
head. “Now did she mean for it to happen?
Cause I can’t think she did.” He scoffs back my
quarter, talking about the healing powers of
glue as he puts the owl in a small paper sack
along with some scooped up peppermints for
my daughter whose facial disc had dropped
down in alarm but has now turned up again,
ear tufts open and alert. I buckle her in her
car seat and hand her the sack. On the drive
home, lit leaves on water oaks overhanging
the roads, all intact, are rustling— a subtle
reprieve in afternoon’s harshest hour.


Jennifer Blair teaches at the University of Georgia. Her work has been published in Copper Nickel, New South, Barely South Review, Kestrel, James Dickey Review, and Segue, among others. She is also the author of a chapbook, All Things are Ordered, from Finishing Line Press.

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“Lost” by Jennifer Blair

Thistle dead in the ditch
no one down the road for days
not the mail or tax man or turnip
peddler. Even the battleship skirt
woman with the mole on her neck
who wanted to scare Jesus into my
heart paused at the forest’s mouth
figuring the elect would be saved
damned damned and that was that,
buzzards perched backs hunched
down in the hollow turning her
sudden Calvinist, what could she do,
so she stuck her good news in her
onion sack and trotted right back
to the sweet blue valley and yellow
house which offered her bed and
a supper of roast and glazed carrot.
Scare Jesus into my festering
heart was what she did plan with
preaching, hollering and probably
a high pitched long winded pestering
but that don’t make only son stay
put and it’s useless too with God
roving my head for years now,
carving keys, looking for shoes,
setting a cracked and empty hand
cream jar on the windowsill—
then standing and still sanding there
innocent idiot expecting water
to appear til I wake him again.


Jennifer Blair teaches at the University of Georgia. Her work has been published in Copper Nickel, New South, Barely South Review, Kestrel, James Dickey Review, and Segue, among others. She is also the author of a chapbook, All Things are Ordered, from Finishing Line Press.

“Cemetery” by Jennifer Blair

Sometimes when I am not in my right
mind they run errands and I usually
do not ask where they are going—too
grateful for the relief of a dark room—
not having to know the clock hands’
whereabouts. Today, after dinner in
town, however, it is my daughter who
suddenly cries from the backseat that
she does not want to go back yet.
My husband nods then takes us down
the road. Here, he says, is one of the
places we go. We drive slowly by
ceramic crosses and American flags,
then pause at the stones near woods’
edge, appreciating late light slatting
down pine trunks as knots of glowing
fern and bracken suggest another
unmarked path beyond this patch of
soberness and order. A rabbit appears
near some lichen encrusted lilies then
quickly scampers off into long grass
as we turn out and go the back way
home past the bait shop, and fields
of freshly mown hay—sweet smell of
their sacrifice rising up past Pecan
trees with branches full of dusk.
There is nothing left to say so I
only reach for my husband’s hand—to
affirm our day of days, our hour
of hours, which shall not come again.


Jennifer Blair teaches at the University of Georgia. Her work has been published in Copper Nickel, New South, Barely South Review, Kestrel, James Dickey Review, and Segue, among others. She is also the author of a chapbook, All Things are Ordered, from Finishing Line Press.