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POETRY

#7 Serpentine

by Jennifer MacBain Stephens

She said when did a growler become a thing? you stemming snake bite
what do you go numb with at night? In Serpentine’s patterning fibrous is poison
but the more massive you are, the more safe

 
this is just a format to reveal my feelings while I teleport to other peoples’ parties
you are in awe and then you pull a classic cancer of being both on land and in the sea
simultaneously

 
how to penetrate the shell and allay fears
all mind whirring on this cliff integrate a new state of awareness
microcrystalline Serpentine
Develop psychic powers,

 
come back for me in fog

 
put your ear to my crux / listen above my head

#10 Preseli Bluestone (composition varies)

 
Do I cherish these rare five thousand year old plants like your calf muscles
I haven’t seen skin in days / all makeshift auras from a Wales
carpenter and rock opera charisma

 
burn a new romance record in the air
it’s the little things in the desert doorway dimensions

 
the sprig of energetic ash colored grass
the mountain lion half asleep
connects us with the past
people write in essay form to extract feeling

 
find the mud route in the dark
private homebodies of sheltered water

 
how to cross that collapsed highway bridge
the Neolithic people step all over it

 
shells on a cliff up high

 
how did they get there / we know but don’t talk about it

 
how to penetrate the shell and allay fears
all mind whirring on this cliff integrate a new state of awareness
microcrystalline Serpentine
Develop psychic powers,

 
come back for me in fog

 
put your ear to my crux / listen above my head

#10 Preseli Bluestone (composition varies)

 
Do I cherish these rare five thousand year old plants like your calf muscles
I haven’t seen skin in days / all makeshift auras from a Wales
carpenter and rock opera charisma

 
burn a new romance record in the air
it’s the little things in the desert doorway dimensions

 
the sprig of energetic ash colored grass
the mountain lion half asleep
connects us with the past
people write in essay form to extract feeling

 
find the mud route in the dark
private homebodies of sheltered water

 
how to cross that collapsed highway bridge
the Neolithic people step all over it

 
shells on a cliff up high

 
how did they get there / we know but don’t talk about it

Jennifer Macbain Stephens
Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she likes to rock climb. She is the author of four full length poetry collections and twelve chapbooks. Her chapbook Teeth Have a Hardness Scale of 5 is forthcoming from Sputnik and Fizzle. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, Zone 3, and Grist. She also hosts an indie reading series sponsored by Iowa City Poetry called Today You Are Perfect. Find her online at jennifermacbainstephens.com.
Submit your work! Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, seeks high quality submissions from both emerging and established writers. We publish craft essays and interviews as well as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we want to see your best work, regardless of form, style, or subject matter. We read general submissions from May 15 - August 15 and from March 15 - April 30 for our ProForma Contest.

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