Three Poems

Poetry by Jim Heynen
Sky House, by Patrick David. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist.

Looking at the sky

The expanse of blueness is lovely,

but the assorted clouds steal the show.

Right now the clouds are ruffling.

Wait, now they are streaking

in long shapes like rolled-out bread dough.

Clouds are like teenagers

with shifting personalities,

changing from moment to moment.

Do they know what they’re doing?

Do they know where they’re going?

I want to go back to that reckless innocence.

Is there somewhere I’m supposed to be?

Did I forget to pay that bill?

I don’t like the clothes I put on this morning.

I don’t like my fingernails.

Now they’re lumping into bumpy knobs.

I am doing just fine, meaning I shouldn’t

change anything, meaning I should

follow the clouds’ example:

meandering, scrambling, floating.

The Old Couple/Their Window

Daily they fade farther in

behind the

unwashed window.

Now and then

their thin lips pulse

like catfish

close to the glass,

as if they know

only a


holds them

from more light

than they’ve ever seen.


Is the practice of calculating:

The condition of the fingernails,

The condition of the toenails,

The condition of the weight,

The condition of the hearing,

The condition of the seeing,

The condition of the bowels,

The condition of the smelling,

The condition of the exercising,

The condition of the stretching,

The condition of the heart,

And, ideally, it is the practice

Of forgiving yourself for

The condition of your memory.

Beyond that,

It becomes the time when

You think about infinity and eternity

And wonder if anyone has deeply

Addressed this question.

Jim Heynen

Best known for his short-short stories about “the boys,” Jim Heynen has published widely as a writer of poems, novels, nonfiction, and short fiction. Jim’s stories about the boys have been featured often on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, as well as on radio in both Sweden and Denmark. Minnesota astronaut George Pinky Nelson took a taped collection of the stories for bedtime listening on his last space mission. One collection of these stories, The Boys’ House, was named Editors’ Choice for Best Books of 2001 by The Bloomsbury Review, Newsday, and Booklist. Jim lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Patrick David

Patrick David (b. 1987) is a multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker. His short Line Dogs premiered in 2022 and he is currently working on his first feature-length film, Little Falls. More of his work can be found at