In the Sierras with Rumi

By Jeanine Stevens

October sky, alpine lakes strike crystal.

Aspens quiver heart shapes

above buttery moss. Not much talking

among the Stellar Jays who seem

to wear little blue and gray captain’s hats

from long lost regiments.

Hooked-jaw kokanee spawn scarlet,

become friends with glory.

Black bears give out the big yawn;

we anticipate snow.

A mountain lion crosses the swale

behind the local college,

barely visible among amber weeds.

You want to escape your ego,

lose yourself in the mountains,

I recommend wearing shoes.

I will bring my shawl. If you believe

snowforms do not last through July,

I can show you a deep crevice

crossing the tree line.

You want to find inland whales?

I can show you the darker side of Granite Peak.

We wonder about time and fill

our eyes with ancient redwoods, the old gods.

In Truckee Meadows, river birch

count stiff rings. We see what

we see, discuss beginnings.

You know embryo, you must recognize

the difference between solitude

and desolation. If we take a wrong

turn, lose ourselves, we can sit

like the Washoe, toss knuckles

onto a blanket, a gambler’s game.

You said there was a mountain range

inside your chest. Look east

from the summit, there, Nevada—

a smooth plain with antelope.


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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