Jennifer Macbain-Stephens

Closets I drink coffee and then hide in the closet. I pinpoint my heart’s position. It beats so fast it points in all directions at once. If my heart is a broken compass how do I complete today’s assignments? Clean out this closet for one thing; make room for bird houses that are too small for us to climb in. Instead, climb into bed. Hide under wax paper. I will preserve my old self. People say they want to stay in bed all day but it is really awful. Look what happened to Brian Wilson. I embrace Brian Wilson like one might embrace Modern Art or vegan cuisine. In the meantime, this poem has turned to pasta. While I wait for the pasta to boil, I delight in small things like watching simultaneously hopping rabbits in the yard. I think about hopping and then mopping because the aftermath proves I exist. I exist when I count down minutes wearing a blanket and a sleep mask. I feel like a mole rat. In my mole rat mind, I remember how I know someone because that is important. Cory in My Pocket One day, I found Cory hiding from the dog in my Land’s End slipper and she has been in my pocket ever since. Cory in my pocket is only five inches tall. She doesn’t scare me because she is small. Her eyes sparkle when she laughs. She tosses her red hair after making a joke. When I found her I made a joke about how she could tighten my glasses with the special screwdriver that is definitely too small for regular sized human hands. So she did. That was the first of Cory’s many feats, living in my pocket. Cory snuggles into my pocket like she was born there. She reminds me to charge my phone and dvr Project Runway. She finds earrings. She hides little notes in books that read, “what month will it be when you find this note?” I feed her tiny crumbs of bread and cheese and bits of egg, little tiny broccoli trees. At night I put her to sleep in the slipper and hide the slipper from the cat. Cory in my pocket is on my side. I tell her “Well, I want to be like this.” And she says, “You already are like that.” Cory in my pocket squashes any insecurity. Cory in my pocket tells me I can do it. Cory in my pocket does not leave me. Even my family notices I have a brighter outlook. They think it is because I took up jogging. We haven’t discussed Cory’s lack of growth. It doesn’t seem to bother her. On On getting a text alertarmed robbery onSamoa StreetOn reading the descriptionSkinny male with handgun On how you Googled whereSamoa Street was in relationTo your street. On how you saidSamoa Street is very long street On how you thought that you, lived on a very long street And what were the odds of him Walking down your very long street To your door, specifically? On how your house isNot fancy, Unassuming. On how you decided to go to bed and You turned on the bathroom fan to create white noise that cast a veil on anxiety in that now humming antechamber On how the three kids sleepUp stairs. On how you sleepDownstairs. On how you strainTo listen for the front door opening.Through the same baby monitor thatyou hear breath. On how you question if the front door Opening would even come through on The baby monitor. On how your heart Beats so fast just staring at navy curtains. On how you fell asleep Then woke up with a start four hours laterWhen it was very dark. On how youThought about the skinny man. On would the dog wake up? On are those your daughter’sFoot steps upstairs getting out of bedTo get a drink of waterOr do you need to investigate? On how if you need to investigateShould you place fingers in position to dial911 On how if you placed fingers on the numbersCould you press the numbersFast enough? Could you press the numbers andgo undetected? Could you go undetectedIn the right amount of time? What is the right amount of time? Jennifer MacBain-Stephens received a B.A. and a B.F.A. from New York University and has poems published in Superstition Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Red Savina Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Burningwood Literary Journal, The Apeiron Review, Dead Flowers: A Poetry Rag, Star 82 Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, Rufous City Review, Squalor Review, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Untitled with Passengers, Gravel Magazine, Sein und Werden, The New Poet, and Iowa City’s 2013 Poetry in Public Project. She has poems forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Scapegoat Review, and Menacing Hedge.