Eratio Issue 17




If you were nearby you’d be singing.


by Coleman Stevenson





We all live in other people’s houses, fearing the spider electric.

A house is a body, network of nerves, arteries & bones.

Winter’s a vast and friendless realm, in need of blankets and repair.



. . .


I come with a wrench for taps,

tap a tune of mending along pipes,

snake through ducts and feather insulation between beams.



. . .


Who am I making this nice for?

I’m half-charged, having curved too many smiles.


Mercury retrogrades:

in my mouth, a tongue and nothing to say,

though the air is cold enough to catch the words.



. . .


Reaching for a door handle,

unfurling sheets                    makes lightning—

branches of blue shocks.


Days go                    I spark alone—

the nearest neighbors twenty yards away

and huddled behind black windows.



. . .


In this town of trees and subterfuge

built on stumps, watch the hands

around you— they use

trap doors, deadfall you in.



. . .


What is the sky doing now?

Is it black like those windows?

Planets stew in galactic soup—

infinity ladles our universe.



. . .


Cannot tell the difference between

the hands that want to steal me and

the ones that want to save me from myself.



. . .


I coast the long hill, worry my breaks.

A train hisses its approach in the cold metal of the tracks

long before it rumbles past me.



. . .


The moon does not rise and no one lives there.

It wears a blanket of cold rock all night.

Because it is cold, something on Earth is always in need of fixing.



. . .


I don’t want to live under the moon’s sway anymore.

I’m lost in endless rooms of my celestial house.


I’m abuzz with what isn’t, with the requirements of distance—

oh put me on your shelf

and take me back down.










Coleman Stevenson’s first collection of poems, The Accidental Rarefication of Pattern #5609, was published by bedouin books in 2012.  Her poems have also appeared in a variety of journals including Seattle Review, Hawai’i Review, Mid-American Review, Louisiana Literature, Hawai’i Pacific Review and Burnside Review.  She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches design students about poetry, cultural communication, and word/image collaboration.