~ A Ghazal
On the train to Rome, cigar smoke clouds my window;
people eat mortadella and a porter sells gum and mints.
I travel to a sacred place, discover a broken latch.
In prayers of my own device, I have questions.
We know that image, fluid and ever-changing.
For hysterics, pause — take a whiff of valerian.
This story spins in the night, this tale one
of a limping dog drinking fetid water. I’m unhinged by stars.
Seaweed bends to the pressure of water. In my
pea-green boat, I sail down to the purpling ocean.
A woman carries a milk jug, a flute plays under a
banyan tree. Returning, nothing will look the same.
©2019 by Jeanine Stevens
from Citadels (Folded Word, forthcoming 2019)
Jeanine Stevens is a poet and visual artist. Author of Limberlost and Inheritor (Future Cycle Press) and Sailing on Milkweed (Cherry Grove Collections), her poems have appeared widely in journals in the United States and United Kingdom. Her new collection of poems about her pilgrimage through the Italian countryside, Citadels, is available to pre-order here at Folded Word.