Home Again

Jeanine Stevens


Time works its cure,

like a few surgeries, or mice

eating away the glue, rice,

and glitter from your wedding cards—

a long way, whether it’s miles or memory.

Twice, I stopped, walked around.

The first time—old sleeping bags

slumped against boarded windows

and a crack house stood next door.

After four years, new dual panes,

and a glassed-in porch shone

like a beacon. I peeked

in the living room where the baby

grand stood, the windows where we hung

paper draperies—the empty space

where we listened to Red Skelton,

and Let’s Pretend, and rugs

were rolled back on Saturday night.

The crack house is still next-door,

and I didn’t search the coal bin,

but, on the doorstep, a child’s toy cup,

milky green glass, and a tiny hole

for even the smallest finger.


Jeanine Stevens was raised in Indiana, and lives now in Northern California.

She has three chapbooks: Boundary Waters (The Indian Heritage Council, 2005), The Keeping Room (Rattlesnake Press, 2006) and The Meaning of Monoliths (Poet’s Corner Press, 2006).  Her poems have been published in The South Dakota Review, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Timber Creek Review, and Pegasus, among others.  In 2007, Jeanine was the Winner of the Stockton Arts Commission Poetry Contest, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.