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S Stephanie

Happy 149th Birthday Gertrude Stein, Gone 77 Years

So, what is the Happy behind 149…what is the Happy? Why do we sing it?

And where do our dead go to hear it? This song is about the voice behind a buckboard bounce and a button. This song is about the shrill note between a candle’s flame and its smoke. The memory of cake. Tender words. Sung. Still singing.

After your death, dreams came in cuneiform,

small histories of you

strewn across night’s floor.

On waking, pianos melted,

the silver hands playing them

turned as liquid as the dreams.

Then whole days

the clicking of empty coat hangers

a code being sent to me

from the closet of grief.

Soon winter with its severity and squalls

will surround us

just as our childhood did.

Aloneness crunching under each step

toward findings and futures, always

one wingspan ahead. Our wide eyes

giving way to rivers of personal history.

What small victories we claimed!

What dark losses hanging above

our head where brooding rains accumulate.

Here is where we built our small room

of poems. Our terror and muse still play

there. Our failures shining like ice

in a night that doesn’t end here or with us.


S Stephanie’s poetry has appeared in many literary magazines such as the Birmingham Poetry Review, Café Review, Clover & Bee, Hole in the Head Review, Iowa Review, One, Rattle, St. Petersburg Review, The Southern Review, The Sun, Third Coast, Turtle Island Review, Dream Pop, Hamilton Stone Review and many anthologies. She has three collections of poetry out, holds an MFA from VCFA, and lives in Rollinsford NH, and respects cats.


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