People come at lunch hour to hear special themes
--autumn, love, ethnicity, place. This month’s
topic--CITIES. I think I’ll read a poem.
I consider Walt sampling grapes in the supermarket,
or Lorca plugging melons for greenness, maybe
Dana’s small alcove turning a corner into a vagrant
wind, or Eloise Healy’s city beneath present day
Los Angeles, carettas tracking up the Harbor Freeway,
horses dancing in the ballroom of the dead.

Readers arrive, but poems are not marked--
no post-its in brown leather books, just held
on laps in small, child size shoeboxes tied with twine,
others in vases or bottles, neatly rolled, tucked
in like Dead Sea Scrolls. Still dreaming, I call
Dennis to confirm
--CITIES was last April’s topic, funds reduced,
the series cancelled. Readers reluctantly release
poems that arch upward, break into pale doves,
like the ones you can rent at Forest Lawn just off the 405.

© Jeanine Stevens

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Currently living in Northern California. Graduate degrees in Anthropology and Education. Inspired by woodlands, valleys, the Sierras, French ballet, folk music, and adagio dancers. Poems have appeared in Poesy, Catamont Press, The Tule Review, Tiger’s Eye, The Sacramento Anthology 100 Poems--2001, Ekphrasis, Ruah, South Dakota Review, Writers Journal, The Aurorean, Hodgepodge, Brevities, Western Archipelago Review, Rattlesnake Review. Sacramento News and Review, Soul Fountain, and Earth’s Daughters. Poems will also be published in Pegasus, International Poetry Review, and Timber Creek Review.