by Eric Stiefel

Whether we watch the nightjars return to haunt the trees, or if we only
hear them calling out to one another, softly,
                                                                  before fading to their secret lives—

                 When you press your hands to my chest, I catch you watching
our movements in the mirror, a maze of candles stuttering out in the dining room
before you turn away, as if to keep this moment, somehow, for yourself—

Just as rows of pomegranates coat a dust-lined field, their fruits
having fallen over fullness or neglect,
                                                            sitting swollen in the dusk—

You dreamed, you’d told me, for the first time in weeks.  I remember
washing the spoons as you slept, then the knives, and then a sense of stillness,
fleeting, as birds in winter, waiting prone amongst the ferns and their leaves.


Eric Stiefel lives in Athens, Ohio.  He received his MFA in
poetry from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was
also Junior Fellow in Poetry.  Currently, he teaches at Ohio
University, where he is a PhD candidate.  Stiefel was the winner
of the 2018
Sequestrum New Writer Awards and was a finalist
in the 2018 Poetry Prize from
The Penn Review.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 15, Number 1
(Spring 2020)

Copyright © 2020
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

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