By Jeanine Stevens

n. blamed for the disruption                                                         
of any procedure.


Working on our dissertations,

it is the only rental car we can afford.

But we splurge at Gepetto’s,

order the “Monstro Special,” a platter

of shellfish, every shade

of crimson and blue swimming

in golden butter. An afternoon off,

we head to the Everglades in steamy

overcast.  I expect romance,

something to write about later.

We drive deep in foliage, mosquitoes

thick on the glass, dull grey hissing

things, gallon sippers wanting us.

The A/C fails, the romance goes,

not because of the Everglades,

or the battered red Gremlin, or Florida—

but because I want a hot dog from the 7-11.

You won’t stop for water or a snack,

say “you are a grown woman,

it will spoil your dinner.”

Low blood sugar makes me

thoughtful. I notice your jaw set

long ago in that tenement in Chicago,

roaches clicking on the wall

dropping on your crib—left alone

with a hunger I can never fill.



Jeanine Stevens studied poetry at U.C. Davis, and has an M.A. in Anthropology. Winner of the MacGuffin Poet Hunt and one of two finalists for the William Stafford Prize. Author of Sailing on Milkweed, her latest chapbook is “Needle in the Sea,” from Tiger’s Eye Press. Poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Evansville Review, Pearl, North Dakota Review, Perfume River, Alehouse and Quercus Review.

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