Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Poem by Jeanine Stevens


Some things go unnoticed,
like the ornate label on this olive-oil bottle
brown filigreed villages dotted
with green and white trees
(product imported via Hackensack).
Etched leaves puff around the neck,
and at the bottom, a border of cabbage roses
caught in a golden banner,
like the sash worn by beauty queens.
If I hadn't been so still
I would not have noticed the hawk
in the oak so close to my house,
nothing moving
but made known by his block shape.
Only when I raised my tea cup
did he startle, narrowly missing my face,
rising airborne to his claimed perch
in the highest redwood.
Here again, a vast whiteness
filled in by browns and greens.
The spicy nasturtiums frozen all winter
begin to show variegated ivory and lime leaves,
miniature lily pads.  (The seed packet
identifies, "Alaska" variety;
the photo resembles a shrunken pea).
What transformation, how lush,
I will add blooms to a salad,
complementing the bergamot in my Earl Grey.
Hawk watching, has no need of me,
its mice he's after.
From another angle he could blot out the sun.
Architecture, structure; canopy of trees,
understory, snail trail--
scaffolding I just noticed.

Jeanine Stevens poetry has appeared in Pearl, Earth's Daughters, North Dakota Review, Evansville Review, Perfume River, Tipton Poetry Review and Arabesque.  Her latest chapbook, "Needle in the Sea," was published by Tiger's Eye Press in 2014.  She has awards from the Bay Area Poet's Coalition, Stockton Arts Commission and Ekphrasis.  Raised in Indiana, she now divides her time between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

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