A Soft Garden

By Jeanine Stevens

I survive on interiority,

the chipped enamel roasting pan,

library table, soft woods,

worn coverlet, papered walls,

clear skylights, invisible bugs,

trap doors, momentary darkness—

my own dust. Outside,

a rougher bark and endless sun.

I place five green apples, ignored

by visible insects,

in a glass baking dish.

They hold such sweetness, deserve

to be graced with cinnamon,

butter and made crisp.

It seems such a basic right

to simply exist on one’s home ground.

What of the Syrian woman attacked

in her home, no weapons on hand?

Inside the shelled dwelling

no news at all, only night

and a soft garden scorched.


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 LoreEvansville ReviewPearlNorth Dakota ReviewPerfume RiverAlehouse and Quercus Review.

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