By Jeanine Stevens

             after a black and white photo
                                             Asher ReTech

Homage to brief decades, the suitcase,
the kind you buy in a set of three
at Sav-On Drugs,
             slumps in a back alley
among scattered rubble, scraps and litter.

Flimsy, cardboard and cloth,
made for domestic destinations,
it has survived many depots and terminals.

Rain soaked, black mold, beginning to sag,
             one side curls and peels.

No matter how worn,
you can always find bits of life
inside the satin lining: frayed ribbon,
a few peanuts, ticket stub,
             small toy.

This is what I see through my good eye.
If I look with the other,
objects glaze and shimmer,
             as if put through a gentle

             shredder—even soiled scraps transform:
glacial chips, slick obsidian, candy-colored confetti!

The rain over, everything settles, like the quiet
after the carnival ends, the revelers gone home.




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.

Comments are closed.