by Jen Stein

If the act of beginning bent the knee,
salt would not care to know

where its taste began; the way pine digs
in the brain and pulls out wet moss,

a hot flush of shame from a smell
from a memory from a moment before,

the emphasis on things past yes but not
moved recently, not things of soft

and bright honeyed clover but things of pinned
wriggling moths dying on a Styrofoam mat,

labeled with sharpie (which smells like
decay) and mother said you were always

such a pretty girl, why couldn’t you smile more?


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.

jen steinJen Stein is a writer, advocate, mother and finder of lost things. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where she works in family homeless services. Her work has recently appeared in Stirring, Poetica Magazine and Wicked Banshee Press, and is featured in a micro-collection in Wood Becomes Bone.

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