Jenny Billings Beaver

This week cavalcadeofstars proudly debuts Jenny Billings Beaver.

Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit:
Family Waiting Room, #1501.

This is a room of absence.

Fading light sifts
through closed blinds, pale
as we sit in lines of blue
and red leather chairs
in a room
by a vacant wooden desk
and abandoned phone.

I sit across from people
I’ve never seen before
people maybe I should know
brought together by the same
anxiety of the white phone’s ringing.

There is an electric blue screen
above our heads that has its own language—
listing loved ones as numbers
highlighted in colored vocabulary
each tint—a different status.

We are awaiting purple’s recovery notice
which looks too much like black.
We shudder against papery white blankets,
the constant drone of the air conditioning
and the unknown.

I wonder what the family across the room
is “in for.” I try to read their faces.
They speak in secret circles.

Jenny Billings Beaver


pops his neck, shifts,
shoves his hands into his pockets
then crosses his arms, leans
against the pale blue wall.

He says,
I’m off drugs now.

The hole in his armpit stretches
as he pulls at his ripped T-shirt.

The soles of his boots waver
with every toe tap
to music only he can hear.

Stains on his thighs match
the green grenade
on his left forearm.

This tattoo, an attempt to conceal
what his sister and skin
won’t let him forget.

Jenny Billings Beaver

My Mother-in-law, Jane

is 65 years old but wants to be
on a constant move. Her husband, Freddie, retired
years ago only to sit down content,
so our house and spending time with us
is their vacation.

Before she comes to visit, she dyes her hair
orange from a box, hoping we’ll notice.
She can never remember if we keep
the bathroom door open or shut
but knows exactly where our chocolate is.

At the movies she sits by me
because this is a chick-flick
and that’s what we are –
chicks. She jabs my arm
to make sure I see
the funny parts,

breathes asthmatic
through her mouth, picks
at her cuticles, grasps popcorn
in her paw, eating one piece
at a time, coughing bits
onto my sleeve.

42 pokes and a popcorn shower later,
we say our good-byes. Freddie is driving
but she guarantees she won’t be asleep
when they get home though her eyes
are already closed.

Jenny Billings Beaver

Road Master.

Our romance was NASCAR fast
lasting only a few months
before you left me for Minneapolis.

You broke up with me
in the front seat of my convertible.
You weren’t ever coming back
because you hated our roads here.

Did you detest Billy Graham Pkwy
when your plane landed?
Did you despise 85
when you booked your hotel?
What was wrong with 77
when I drove it to get to you?
You made me breakfast off Carolina Lily
ate lunch off 29, dinner on Harris Blvd
told me you loved me on Highway 49…

I know the 485 bypass wasn’t yet completed
but I thought we were at least
in the same lane.

I hear Minnesota is nice, but crowded,
that there are not a lot of places to park,
that you sold your car soon after you got there.

Jenny Billings Beaver

A Brown Paper Bag

crumpled and stapled, was placed
between my car
and our accordion door garage.

I pinched the bag between
my thumb and pointer finger
held it away from me, worried

of the contents, the bottom
just might fall out
with a warm, smelly surprise.

I brought it inside, placed it
on the coffee table, eyed it,
circled it from every angle.

I ripped it open

to find six same sized novels.
Sliding through the covers:
There’s nothing here but smut.

Were these borrowed?
Wrongly returned?
I bet they’re my neighbor’s.

I read random pages
in each book, look
for initials, inscriptions, clues

to tell me who my secret
admirer or nemesis is. I read
the back covers of each novel

feeling invaded, reminded of talks
we just had about being more

now angered
this could be your joke.
I’m trying not to read too much into it.

Jenny Billings Beaver

Real Limit

How many people

can you love

before its too much?

She asked.

I said,

I don’t think

there is any real limit

as long as you don’t care

if they ever loved you back.

Jenny Billings Beaver is a native Charlottean, with a MFA in Creative Writing in Poetry from Queens University of Charlotte and a BA in English from Wake Forest University. She lives in Charlotte, NC currently with her husband, Justin, and Shih Tzu, Tola. Jenny has been writing since Elementary School. Her first poem appeared in a local newspaper when she was in the 6th grade.
Jenny teaches English at Rowan Cabarrus Community College and works as a director at NOMAD Aquatics and Fitness, as a poet and as a freelance writer for The Charlotte Observer.
Her work has appeared or is to appear in Referential Magazine, Southern Women’s Review, Poets for Living Waters, Girls with Insurance, vox poetica, The Dead Mule and Writer’s Advice.


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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14 Responses to Jenny Billings Beaver

  1. Jessie carty says:

    Awesome as always JBB! Especially that first one 🙂

  2. Diana E. Backhouse says:

    It’s always interesting to spot the likenesses as well the differences from across the pond.
    I could really relate to your first piece about the waiting room–not any change there!

  3. Jenny, your poetry is excellent! Perhaps you might be interested in submitting up to five poems, each one no longer than 24 lines, for possible inclusion in The Word Place’s Summer 2011 Issue due out in late June? My e-mail address is

    Salvatore Buttaci

  4. I loved Roadmaster; great picture of a woman who jokes about things to ease the pain. She’s familiar to me. A Brown Paper Bag made me nervous. I wonder what it’s about, too. If I were the main character, I’d be as nervous as if a scorpion scuttled across the dining room.

  5. Sandy says:

    You do wonderful writing. I find a reason behind your writing through your words.

  6. Bobbie troy says:

    Jenny: You sure have a lot to say. I love the first three pieces. The Waiting Room is especially poignant.

  7. Jenny, it has been a pleasure to have you debut at cavalcadeofstars. Thank you.

Comments are closed.