Caught Summer

By Jeanine Stevens

  ~a Cento



People are forever leaving Proust

behind in summer cottages.


I sit in my suntan oil alone,

a jay chirks news of impending drouth.

But under my feet as I tan,

a light brown paisley made of seed wings.


Parallels of color

on bare canvas of time-by-the-sea.

Fishes float with new-repaired scale.



the air… serpentine

swipe of the sea.


A smoky rain batters the panes

of the shore hotel and the hope-for summer

chills and fails.


The summer people sigh,

“Is this July?”


And next summer they find

someone else’s Proust

in the new place they rent


Caught summer

…always an imagined time.




From: Roy Blount Jr. “Summer and the Reading is Easy.”

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, “The Sweet Season.”

Mona Van Duyn, “The End of May.” May Swenson,

“Flag of Summer.” Richard Wilbur, “My Father Paints the Summer.”



Jeanine Stevens studied poetry at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento. She has advanced degrees in Anthropology and Education. Her second poetry collection, Inheritor, was published by Future Cycle Press, 2016. Recent winner of the WOMR Cape Cod National Poetry Competition and the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Award, 2017. She just received her fifth Pushcart Nomination. Poems have been published in South Dakota Review, Pearl, Evansville Review, Valparaiso Poetry Journal, Forge, Rosebud, Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat and others. Jeanine also enjoys collage and Tai Chi. Raised in Indiana, she now divides her time between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

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