Local Author: Jeanine Stevens
Jeanine Stevens chapbooks include: Boundary Waters (Indian Heritage Council, 2005), The Keeping Room (Rattlesnake Press, 2006), The Meaning of Monoliths (Poet’s Corner Press, 2007), Eclipse (Rattlesnake Press 2008), and Caught in Clouds (Forthcoming, Finishing Line Press). She has two Pushcart Nominations and earned first place awards in poetry from the Stockton Arts Commission, The Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference, and the 2009 Ekphrasis Prize, among others. Jeanine has graduate degrees in Anthropology and Education and is taking coursework in the U.C. Davis Creative Writing Program.
“Whither goes thou America
in thy shiny car (at) night,”
Kerouac wrote. Tucked together,
sedans and rusty panel trucks
-doors gape, fenders sprout
stiff prairie grass,
sagging tires-the first to rot.
Newer models sit high on the horizon,
lift bright hoods: slick red, yellow,
and aqua enamel sparkling in the sunlight.
Perhaps they will be rescued
But tonight, no one walks here.
It seems a vast sacrifice at the base
of these ancient Rockies-made purple
only by their distance.
Discarded, they silently decompose,
moonlight leveling shape and shadow.
Previously published in Westwind
We must make more of Autumn
than covered bridges and red aspens.
I want to follow where the Truckee
runs down to the Carson Valley Plain,
see night-white ruffles reflect ethereal birds
skipping in warm, sweet buck brush,
flitting ripples, carrying wings,
flowing under Reno-neon and glitter,
and the California Zephyr’s silvery tracks.
Water breaks, broken water…. leeching
fenced farms, but still determined,
overflowing, exposing brittle bison bones.
Emerging from purple ceanothus thickets
wild rabbits blanket my headlights
Then, the river fans out quiet,
lapping tufa formations at Pyramid Lake,
old shards polished bright-
ghost dancers drinking deep.
Previously published in-South Dakota Review
I buy her at a roadside cafe
in Bakersfield-folded hands
curve upward, arms drop
white clouds-a waterfall drips
golden leaves down her garment.
Warm, and smelling of cedar,
she is blue as veins in a dusty pink
Rose of Sharon. She is blue
because Russia is cold,
and that’s where she comes from
holding a dime size charm-
a porcelain saint in a brown robe.
I don’t know her faith, maybe
an icon or a holiday ornament?
I fasten her rusty hook to my saddle,
ride out and show her Nevada,
where blue is wide, white
is high, hills run yellow,
and a brown crust covers the earth.
Previously published in Camas
Each winter, snowplows
spray salt showers
on tiny stars, pointed
as glacial chips-
tan colored nosegays
hug asphalt, poke
cracks in the interstate.
Some would call them weeds.
We picked armfuls.
A mix of black walnut
and nutmeg, they stood
in a pottery vase for years,
until only the scent
of dust remained. Just now,
I saw them from the
California Zephyr-tight tufts
sticking sideways in creosote
soaked ties, surviving
and early autumn heat
here now, outlasting us.
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