Mistral

By Jeanine Stevens

Windy days at co-op pre-school,
kids unruly: kicking shins, tossing
graham crackers and carrot sticks into the air,
some even preferring the taste of crayons.

So I’m ready for this gale
(said to drive one mad).
Coming north from Nice to Arles,
legs infected with flea bites, wearing
scratchy tights, already edgy, half crazed.

My real intent:
find color, tattered billboards,
collage scraps, great strips
I stuff into my parka,
twisted and wrinkled all the better.

Gruff gusts,
rings clang on iron poles,
café umbrellas flap
in blue cold and dry sun—
blinding azure, Midas gold.

I take a warm Earl Gray at a sidewalk shop.
Across the courtyard,
the Mistral removes sticky webs
from Vincent’s dense shrubbery.

 

 

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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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