Hand of the Hilt of His Short Sword

by Jeanine Stevens


~circa 1590 AD

London swept over me.

The street was filled with people

carrying huge bundles,

selling pastries and pamphlets.

Carts clattered

over the cobbles, splashed up muck;

flies buzzed everywhere.

The whole street smelled bad;

so did the people.

I scurried past delights

and horrors. A dog

with no ears or tail snapped at me

beside a bank of glorious roses.

I caught a glimpse

of the flat brown River Thames.

We crossed over;

the street was the bridge.

Above the roofs, on the farthest pole

grinned a white skull.

I stopped abruptly

and heaved my breakfast

into the reeking ditch.


(Found poem from King of Shadows,” Susan Cooper, 1999, p.38-30)


Jeanine Stevens’ second poetry collection, Inheritor, was released by Future Cycle Press, 2016. Her most recent chapbook, Needle in the Sea, was published by Tiger’s Eye Press. Her next chapbook, Brief Immensity, winner Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Award will be published in 2017. Jeanine has other awards from the MacGuffin Poet Hunt, the Ekphrasis Prize, the Stockton Arts Commission and WOMR Cape Cod Community Radio. Her poems have appeared in Stoneboat, Arsenic Lobster, Rosebud, Camas, Evansville Review, The Connecticut River Review, and Sentinel and Dragonheart (UK). Jeanine recently received her fourth Pushcart nomination. She studied poetry at UC Davis and California State University and has graduate degrees in Anthropology and Education. Professor at American River College. She was raised in Indiana and now divides her time between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

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