~A Ghazal

On my desk: gooseneck lamp, old Underwood
portable, scratch pad looking for one good line.

Imagine a pungent swamp, still water, slick mud
speckled amphibians, humidity, crepuscular light.

Hearts break or harden but learn flexibility,
tender valves practicing–pulse in, pulse out.

A robust avocado, pulpy, sweet membrane.
Someday I’ll tell you “What I want, what I mean.”

Velveteen comes to mind: chartreuse, celadon,
old shades not found in present day flowers,

a time when hearts were found in old forests,
vacant lots; a time when hearts were still green.

Jeanine Stevens is a poet and visual artist. Author of Limberlost and Inheritor (Future Cycle Press), and Sailing on Milkweed (Cherry Grove Collections). Winner of the McGuffin Poet Hunt and the Ekphrasis Prize. Her poems appear widely in journals in the United States and the UK.