Tessa Stevens: Three Poems

[Image description: close-up photo of a burning candle]   Creative Commons

[Image description: close-up photo of a burning candle]

Creative Commons

            You bring the kerosene; I’ll bring the flame


You wake the wolf in me
if I let her take over
well, there’d be only shreds              
I can sense the hunger in your blood
by the cruel way it makes my teeth ache
what happens when the dormant wolf finally sees the full moon? 

We’re always so careful
holding uncooked eggs in fragile hands
I don’t care what breaks
what bridges burn down
show me teeth
give me a man not afraid to pour kerosene
on the whole damn town 

Quiz: On Grief                                   

Answer key                              

pirated copy

1) Van Gogh immortalized his emotions into his paintings leaving a message in his paint strokes for viewers to understand there is a new language for loss. TRUE OR FALSE

            A: True

2) When someone says they will never leave; it is:

a) wedding bells
b) a widowed woman
c) a tombstone

A: c will accept b. for partial credit

3) Essay question: How does one know the realness of something lost? (In 35 words or less.)

 Answer: A black bird dropped dead on my porch exactly two years ago on the day my love was last seen leaving. I let its corpse rot away until the only evidence left was bone.

 Bonus points:

What is your advice for the living?

Be the panther and the prey. It’s the only way to know survival.


Do you know what it’s like to come home--
an empty house—
darkness fills the halls, the thick fog of dead weight?

There is a stranger in the corner of your room

a stranger on the porch

(a mirror reflected of you)

a dip in your side of the bed

what is it about some memories that just won’t quit?

Yesterday you said my name,
it echoed, a siren passing in the distance.

How many more funerals must I attend?

I have been planning, preparing for my own.                                                                                    Tell the neighbors it’s one scoop of dry food in the morning
that the light switch in the living room is temperamental, it flickers,

on and off, a metronome trained for sound of movement.
Tell them when it’s dark
to send someone.

Tessa Stevens is a queer poet and an MFA dropout woefully worrying over student loans and feverishly writing poetry. She has been published in Talking River Literary Journal and Gravel Magazine.