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EDITOR'S CHOICE: scott weiss's

by Dorine Jennette

If, therefore, hesitation is danger— doubt
pulsed through each limb's decision—

then I am shaken at the twig's tip
where wind wrings the tree's

high branches to start the sap.
I live at the lip

where the ripe pecan pants
at the opening pod's edge—

a claw, a quadranted womb,
a loosening compass blown

beyond the magnet's knowledge,
spun past any certainty.

The ground so far.

Editor's Note:
A previous version of "Stance" first appeared as "Trust Your Feet" in the Fall/Winter 2002-2003 issue of the Santa Clara Review. "Stance" appears here by permission of Dorine Jennette.

Road Trip
by Dorine Jennette

Naturally, we won't get what we want.

While we drive stinking down the mountain

to shuck the pleasures of snow-covered yucca

and cottonwood for imminent enchiladas,

the radio reveals that this year's migrating monarchs

died in a freak storm in Mexico, their million

yellow and black wings blurred to a single flag.

The old truck's heater whines; the father at the wheel

confides he hopes his wife forgets the worst

of childbirth's ring of fire—

Sunday night in a desert town: everything is closed

to us, and to imago Io moths, who have no mouths,

who mate and starve, whose children do the same,

while mechanics in Cuba, lacking parts, keep 1950s

American cars running strong on rubberbands

and spit, what a machinist can make fit.

Gravity will have us all eventually,

so each of the desert's great balancing stones

perches on its tiny base. As tumbleweeds skate

over rabbits and beetles, we revive an old debate,

and fogging the windows with our cant,

a Jack Mormon, an atheist, and a militant agnostic

are mindful that every desire is a winding sheet.

We want better breath, the last cracker, to bloom

with the barrel cactus by the road's shoulder,

or, emerged from the canyon's shelter,

exposed to the stars and the radio's reminders

of those to whom we return, we long

to lick the neck of the person nearest us.

Editor's Note:
"Road Trip" first appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of the Naugatuck River Review, which has generously granted permission for its appearance here.

Writing by Streetlight
by Dorine Jennette

Close to the neighbor's dog,

at the axis

of grass and smoke,

in the graph of what's spoke,

a hinged ear folds

the breeze. Time to

squeeze song from mosquitoes.

The scuffs termites

accept. Frogs, bereft.

This grist is the gist of

night's warp and weft.

Whisper of paint

chips to porch planks, flanked by

pollen, dust: rust

of tongue and groove.

Dorine Jennette's poetry collection Grace by Degrees is forthcoming from The National Poetry Review Press in 2010. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as the Journal, Ninth Letter, Coconut, Court Green, Memorious, Puerto del Sol, and the Georgia Review. She earned her PhD at the University of Georgia, and now earns her keep as a copyeditor for university presses, including the University of Georgia Press and the University of Pittsburgh Press. She lives in Davis, California.


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