beard crush
smash open teeth

I’d pay for your lip
service but

never knew it
felt like a car crash

to be sore in
new places

hip rug burns
sing sonnet-like

about his forearms
his third thumb removal

scar every new touch
starting over

you never barked stay
I flew crow-like

still chained to trees
your leaves burned red

and ignition blue
glass eyes

syllables and coffee grounds
scattered the sink’s edge

you never wanted to scan
my brain map

I let the wasps fly
into the house

looking to guide
a sweet sting

out of my cellar skin

Crocodile Eyes

half closed

one bird in the mouth

is worth two dead

floating in salt water

Let brown eyes beckon a chickadee

fly over fireplace stone

polished granite in a

warm bath turn gray eyes green

or sand color: an Amish made table

twice prayed over

some eyes dip: drugged and red

spread over a sick tiger’s eye in meditation

I never knew how blue

could bite and twist

slice my cheek

and throat in one blink

freeze my blush

before it spread

I would’ve stayed in

your ice forever

if you let me. your turquoise

ocean aloof set to swell at the wrong

moon times, my

passion cycle falling

off next month’s calendar

dread pumped sleeping hours

into my chest

too many times

my green eyes pried open

by tiny game pencils

tears falling

each dawn the

orbs raw

Like a cyclops I fumble

through my carpet cave

possess a periscope

tell myself it won’t hurt

to reach out, to blink

to touch the ice.

At Dawn, Harp Music is Not Your Voice

your voice is gravel

the way you touch me is sun

I cling to missing you


I walk for days in the cold and weeds

clouds and winter fall around me

melt into mud

wind permeates space behind

my neck

under my ears

around my ankles

I lower my face

my eye lids burned

by wind

home: your eyes and lips light up

I gaze upon them

but it is your fingertips

that warm the valley

between my shoulders

my clavicle

my forearms

my hip bones

not shelter

not blankets

not lamps

I use your fingers to map my body

to feel where I’ve burned life

who I touch

Jenny Flowers Bio Photo

J. MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa. She is the author of four full length poetry collections and twelve chapbooks. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Prelude, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, Zone 3, and Grist. Visit her website and follow her on Instagram: