Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Two Poems

Prisoner to Portraiture

I cannot get out of this chair. The artist has tied my wrists and ankles. This is no ordinary cusp on the verge of epiphany. My cheek, chin, and smirk, is blind, awash in black, lashes grow a mile out to sea. The tide rushes in, bewildered by itself. Don’t you see? The artist created a new color. This black is called brain wave black: all soul, no logic. I laugh at my pupil-ness and my blindness. Here I am, the answer unveiled, shrinking and expanding according to volume of magnificence. So bright, I cover my downward spiral with an heirloom quilt. That’ll show time. I feel the grayscale pendulum, hit me on the head, and the ants, march in, gobble up my pink cotton candy life.

The Hour

The hour refuses to pose for the camera. The hour was drenched by a Garland of Roses. The hour was prepping to stud. The jockey sits with his legs crossed, drinks a cup of tea. The tea grows cold too quickly. (It whinnies at this, the hour.) The hour is in the stable with a stop watch strapped to its back, prepping for the most exciting two minutes in sports. It is really the best place for the hour, it doesn’t have personal belongings. Keeping up with the cleaning was the end of the hour. All the suitors are women. They have the lightest caresses the hour ever felt. The hour barely feels its second hand. The hour nibbles an apple core from each gloved palm. This makes the hour’s day. The hour is a stallion at day, a colt by night. Sometimes a sun dial or a goat stirs up drama. The hour couldn’t ask for a better time honored tradition really. It’s the memories, though, that get to the hour. It can’t make them fast enough.

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently lives in the DC area with her family. Recent chapbooks are forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press, Crisis Chronicles Press and Shirt Pocket Press. Her first full length poetry collection is forthcoming from Lucky Bastard Press. Recent work is at Pretty Owl Poetry, Yes, Poetry, Gargoyle Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, Glittermob, The Norfolk Review, Moss Trill, Pith, So to Speak, Apple Valley Review, Otis Nebula, Freezeray, and Hobart; for more, visit: