Cabbage Patch

By Jeanine Stevens

               Erasure: after Angele Ellis, “A Man in a Truck by a River.”
               Grasslimb vol. 13, No. 1, 2015

It took forever to reach you          so much mud. I picked my way
like a lost shorebird among
                                                used rubbers, gnawed chicken bones.


I sort of knew you
           a guy with strong muscles who got paid in cash.

           You climbed into your dirt-brown Bronco
           and flipped the passenger door lock.
                                                           My clumsy entrance
knocked your wallet                 onto the floor mat. It fell open—
photo of you with a woman on your lap.
were grinning as if celebrating a winning
                                                           a scratch-off Lotto card?
                                                   Her Pirates baseball jersey,
                                               clung to her cantaloupe breasts.

                                                                I ran my hand down
your thigh like an apology.

    Later, I realized that every time
                                                 you left me,   you put your truck
                                                             in gear and went to her

                                                                       that the baby
           crying in the background every time I called was yours.

                                               Later, I realized that even
the pieces of trash that end up on the shore
                                                  are part of someone’s fantasies.

                          Night after night, I’m in the cauliflower beds
on my friend’s farm              rows of heads,              leaves secured

with a clothespin, the kind with teeth.
           I panic, seeing the vegetables as the diapered rumps of babies.




Jeanine Stevens is the author of Limberlost and Inheritor (Future Cycle Press) and Sailing on Milkweed (Cherry Grove Collections). Her latest chapbook, Citadels, was published by Folded Word Press, 2019. Winner of the MacGuffin Poet Hunt, The Ekphrasis Prize, Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference, and WOMR Cape Cod Community Radio National Poetry Award. Jeanine studied poetry at U.C. Davis and California State University, Sacramento. Poems have been published in Evansville Review, Forge, Chiron Review, Pearl, Stoneboat, Connecticut River Review, Verse Wisconsin, The Curator and North Dakota Quarterly. She also enjoys Romanian folk dance and working with collage. Jeanine is Professor Emerita at American River College having taught Anthropology, Psychology and Women’s Studies for thirty two years.

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