by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Page four:
Model perches on a rustic bench on a hilltop,
a lone horse nibbles lavender in the background.

I want to be a Sundance Catalog model.
Not because they are 6 feet tall and weigh 110—
but to inhabit a grime-free ivory camisole.
I want to rent a cabin.
Majestic turquoise stones caress my neck
not a speck of mud in sight.
Lunch is alfresco under a gargantuan oak.

Page twelve:
With lone horse in frame,
cue smiling sheep dog.

No white dog hairs invade
the gleaming gazpacho
served up in industrial hardware,
dishwasher safe, repurposed from
1960s community hall chairs.
Artisan of the week, Jes MaHarry,
celebrates the earth’s gifts:
she combines suede, tourmaline, and chalcedony
into a hefty bracelet.
She inscribes the words “grow strong.”
We will, Jes.

Page seventeen:
The model lays her hand intimately
on the nape of an Almanac Man.

His stubble short enough to tell you
he is there, he is a presence in your life,
the stubble does not burn a soft cheek.
You know he smells good, like new flannel, a clean stable,
strong black coffee.
The model drapes.  She sways.
She re-hangs fallen paper lanterns.
She alone knows the steps of this dance.

Page twenty-three:
{Quick change}
Model wears ankle length maxi dress and chunky belt
She strides up the mountain
Cue dandelion fuzz from the west.

The sun sets on Robert Redford’s
four line editorial note:

Enjoy our Spring Collection
Some might say it’s magic.
Here you will find
what is new and unexpected.

Four lines are all he has time for.
We have all the time in the world.

by Jennifer MacBain-Stephen

The audience bursts into applause as I walk around the dressing room
of Maximus, the lion tamer.  The crowd sees what I see, like a circus
inside joke.
 (What key won’t open any door?  A monkey.)  We
walk around the room with the tamer, see bits of his personal life: a
cigarette lighter embossed with just an “M” here, a road map to
Colorado parks there.  We see red triangles sewn into the cuffs of his
shirt.  The craftsmanship is astounding.  This costume will keep him
safe no doubt.  No blood splatter here.  He is so drunk he cannot hold
still.  There is a slit down the back of his white pants.  I am trying to
sew his pants up while he is still wearing them but he won’t stop
moving.  I say, you see, this has everything to do with the rising price
of goat meat.  This resonates with him and he blows smoke in my face
as he thinks about all of the pressing news of the day.  
Be your own
American monster
, he whispers to me.  I stare at him.  He kisses me
hard on the mouth.

by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

The bigness and blondness of you
The many pockets with pens of you
The ham radio handle: KA8GEJ
which now seems so outdated
has become hip again in a retro way
I’m living in a kind of daydream

The eternal khaki-ness of you
The always short sleeve button down-ness of you
the constant heat emanating from you
The constant noise of you
The longing here for you
the laughter, shouty caps of you
The ruddy cheek of you
that was always so ruddy

The sky scraper structure of you
The excitement over a solid suitcase
The brown Clark shoes
The wide stride
The dirty car of you
The goofiness of you
The toughness of you
The “I’ll get my shot gun” vow of you

You made me laugh
The big brain of you
The Hogarth prints
The Sherlock Holmes first editions,
Reading C+++ at the dinner table,
The planetarium visits of you
Your eyes in stars above,
Camping in a filthy, yellow tent,

The way you’d put arms around
my step brothers and brother
and listen, listen, listen
until all hours of the morning
You never know how slow
the moments go.

You had so much joy
your heart attacked itself
I was so wretched to you
so young and hot headed and thought
I knew what cool was
and you weren’t it


Jennifer MacBain-Stephens attended NYU’s Tisch School of the
Arts and currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her
family.  MacBain-Stephens is the author of six chapbooks, and her
first full-length poetry collection is forthcoming from Lucky
Bastard Press.  Her recent work has been published or is
forthcoming in
Poetry, The Norfolk Review, Pretty Owl Poetry,
Gargoyle Magazine, Jet Fuel Review, Pith, So to Speak, Entropy,
Right Hand Pointing, Otis Nebula, Freezeray, and Hobart.  More
information is available on
her website.

On “Gone, Gone, Gone”:
The title of the poem  “Gone, Gone, Gone” is taken from the
Porgy and Bess (the 1926 opera composed by George
Gershwin), and lines in italics are taken from George Gershwin’s
song “The Very Thought of You.”  This poem was inspired by the
death of my stepfather, who died the day before he and my
mother were closing on a new house.  It was also ten days before
his fifty-eighth birthday.  No one saw his death coming, especially
my mother, who was hit extremely hard by this tragedy.  His
death was thirteen years ago and we still think of him, often.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 10, Number 2
(Fall 2015)

Copyright © 2015
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.