Signs from the Universe and Abandoned House

by Jennifer Lothrigel

Signs from the Universe

I walked outside my hotel,

there was a man photographing a nun wearing high heels

in the corner of the stucco building

across the street.

I drove to get coffee,

a tall marquee sign

in front of an abandoned boot store

called to me along the way,

I pulled over and stood beneath its towering message,

the kind that someone used to change daily.

It probably used to light up.

It displayed the broken message,

‘elf Care,’

the S lay on the ground beneath the sign,

in a pile of styrofoam cups

and pieces of wind-scattered plants.

Afterwards I went to visit a shrine to the Virgin Mary,

She wore a colorful robe,

I wore all black like the nun,

sat on a weathered wood pew

and prayed for the S that had fallen from the sign.


Abandoned House

The earth creeps

in the back door,

her ivy messengers strangling the walls.

Dead animals,

rats, squirrels, sometimes hawks—

Angry bold words

spray painted across empty walls.

Old toys, limbless teddy bears and disheveled books,

no longer colorful or cared about.


The rat from behind the once-

flower papered wall

becomes the tenant who devours her own home.


The faded pink velvet chair,

still unloved, now deeply torn

has sprung undone.


Broken windows, open doors,

unhinged things.

The hollow space whispers cautionary notes.

Strange creatures could be hiding in spare bedrooms;

hiding beneath blue floral mattresses;

inside mirrored closet doors.


I remember psychic bedtime stories

with guardian angels

that covered my eyes

when it was scary.


Let’s play marbles and crystal balls.

Let’s play board games with ghosts

and see who wins.


Jennifer Lothrigel is a poet and artist residing in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has been published in Trivia – Voices of Feminism, Narrative Northeast, Poetry Quarterly, Firefly Magazine, Cordella Magazine, We’ Moon and elsewhere.

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