person stephanie roberts, two poems

stephanie roberts is the author of rushes from the river disappointment (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020). She enjoys the reclusive life where she is finishing her third poetry collection. Contact at



we who shivered in the wind
of one another as a fireweed field
travelled the scrub waste places
in Canarsie
and also scaled the urine stairs
of a tenement building
with broken elevators
trying to arrive under
identical brutal sky.
you rose first
and I after.
my fingers typed the bannister
your desire burnished
turning every landing
to dream the top
where I find you missing.
You got yourself off a floor beneath me
while stair after stair
three cards shift with nothing under
I can choose.
the door hung open
I missed you
moon ached open
can of darkness.



Joy most transient river droughtingup come June when it summers it dries without aftertaste not how winter carves inside gut out ice memories set you shaking in your seat painremembersyou like a virus you will bed in your coffin so now I (who trust you) am afraid to say I trust you and am more mortified at the prospect of asking you to trust me oh god no no please do not trust me don’t burden me to remain faithful to you (I beg) treat your every unconfirmed unjustified unvalidated fear of how I might hurt you as a DEFINITE POSSIBILITY if not inevitability who am I to come between people in committed relationship with suspicion yes and yes of course I am a scorpion (better) a rattlesnake hear what I’m shaking diagnose the burning tower of my devotion as portent that I’m about to fang you yes to projection anything but my asking you to trust me molecular fear can’t bear it no matter how ardently joy is the bona fide good dug up as my black truffle heart trustme activates siren to take anchor head for high seas so diligently has this truth been beaten into me I vessel steroidal reverence for silencing such passions respecting the power of the softest words to repel the Ones loved most from this abominably frank altar do not trust me.

4 march 2014


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