by Stan Sanvel Rubin

A friend writes that she’s scared
of everything now, strangers
passing her house, a backfire
in the street, car doors suddenly
slamming shut, flames
erupting from the alley
where men gather in shadows
to do god knows what.
She double locks her doors,
has bought an angry dog
she warns about
in case I ever plan to visit,
checks all numbers carefully
before answering the phone.
No one gets in I don’t want in,
she says, almost happily,
as she describes the system
she had installed, alarms
at every door and window
set to jangle, buzz, or whistle
if a hand or foot appears.
She hints about a target range.
She may have bought a gun but
isn’t saying. Who knows who’ll know?
This is not hard to understand
if you know the city she lives in,
its daily threats and indignations,
and how anyone alone fills up the night.
It may be what we all should know
about our coming assassination.
But it’s her, her fear that holds me
upright in my bed in darkness
listening to my own heart
for what I don’t want to hear.

by Stan Sanvel Rubin

Minute spores
          float like words.

Some iridescent,
          some poison.

They can live in any context.
          No seeds, no flowers, no leaves.

They speak through rock
          thin sentences of grief.


Stan Sanvel Rubin has published poems in many magazines
including, most recently,
One, Superstition Review, The
Laurel Review
, Red Savina Review, The American Journal
of Poetry
, and Poetry Northwest.  His fourth full collection,
There. Here., was published by Lost Horse Press in 2013.  His
Hidden Sequel, won the Barrow Street Poetry Book Prize.  
Rubin lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 12, Number 2
(Fall 2017)

Copyright © 2017
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

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