Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Two Poems by Jeanine Stevens

Cave Pearls Revisited

Chartreuse lichen anoints cave mouth,
my flashlight ignites inner chambers.
Tendrils of wild rose creep
to the core, where I find cave pearls
churning in a milky bath,
cauldron of young moons,
glossed pinkish brown.
Magic grains give birth to pearls--
yet simple scraps,
even gum wrappers will do.
The cavern below my navel
startles and swirls
wants to create,
yet lives in disrepair.
So root me, ask for new polish,
clutter, sort, glue and duck-tape.
I return to daily requirements,
a prerequisite for being human.
Weeds want to become orchids,
guano longs for the night bat.
Imagine how foolish,
yet precious the facts against them.
How can one sleep
with such everyday
dilemmas, when the torch
still sputters and even simple stars
hold sharpest points.

Taking the Coast Route

Before the fall term, she drives south, exits
at Anderson's Pea Soup off-ramp,
[a snap decision] will avoid Harris Ranch
and the bull stockade's pungent odor.
Suddenly exhausted
[hasn't prepared her first lecture],
she wonders if a stop-over somewhere?
A few miles back, that Moorish style hotel, mid-week rates.
Her room has a portico and peach-striped linens.
She unpacks her nightie embossed with bluebonnets.
Down late for dinner, she orders the Persian melon
with prosciutto.  One lone guest, the stocky,
balding sort, slurps raw oysters dipped in various sauces.
She unwinds in the whirlpool, a taste of rock cod,
and lime, tannic, and lingering.  Disrupted,
she makes room.  As suspected, barrel chested,
hair pattern a fuzzy mat, an ancient scrawl.
Burly in madras trunks, he hunches to catch vigorous bubbles.
[Should she notice Orion hovering
in the night sky, his gilded belt?]
Black cypress cut shapes in a citron moon, the late sky,
an exploding hologram.
Morning, the hotel in a fogbank, she breakfasts alone.
Decides her first lecture will not be the usual concepts,
but techniques for recognizing animal tracks,
odd-shaped spore and scent glands?

Jeanine Stevens studied poetry at U.C. Davis and has an MA in Anthropology.  Author of Sailing on Milkweed.  Her latest chapbook is Needle in the Sea.  Winner of the MacGuffin Poet Hunt, Jeanine has poems in Edge, Quercus Review, Pearl, Verse Wisconsin, North Dakota Review, Evansville Review and Squaw Valley Review.

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