Jennifer McBain-Stephens ~ Three Poems

Field and Stream:Jennifer-McBain-Stephens
Joan’s Mise-en-scene

She was remembering that she was remembering…

Stallions writhed in the
Sully-sur-Loire muck
Manes tangled up amongst
legs and soap opera sighs
Sunken curvatures, broken
backs backed into themselves

Joan pulls an arrow
out of her own neck
ties bloodlines
eats grub infested porridge
covers her face in mud
Hundreds of years later

The overly footnoted painting
By Ingres
Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII
revered by thousands
Hangs in the Louvre
Glows in red and silver

Commissions made:
Give her long hair
Put her in a dress

Joan’s Cell

What an after school special. The word peasant might as well have been spray painted red across the chamber, dripping with urban set design. This wasn’t the Scarlett Letter. Joan’s wool tunic clings to her like a cheap Halloween costume, smells different in the rain. The nuns strive to keep her sane with conversation about how pretty the light is. Men in disguise, visit, want to persuade, fake pleasantries, like with any sex worker in boys clothes. What a cliché. The nuns examine her, makes sure all parts are intact every night. What is underneath? That turns the robes on as well. Though fingers find her human, the white hoods speak as if they were talking about an animal. She shows intelligence (sow) very eloquent (horse) I understand! Amazing robustness, yet a gentle heart (cow) she carries a heavy load (ass.) Still…what a bitch.

Wings: Joan’s Afterthought

Obsolete creatures are supposed
to be terrifying.

She always hears the wings behind her.
The big fat softness
flirts with her own
shoulder blades,
eyeing a flat back.
I’d rather be camping

blinks the voicemail message
behind third eye enlightenment
Should’ve Post-it notes
litter the battlefield
Pepper dandelions with actual
Shades of cowardice.

Silversmiths, Bakers, and
Candlestick makers leave the nursery
rhyme just in time to
betray her. She sleeps
in a onesy.
Pelts an asterisk
at the English dictionary.

I dare you,
call me devil
Still, she cries like a girl
At all of the little feet.

© Jennifer McBain-Stephens

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens graduated from NYU but has spent a large part of her life moving up and down I-95 and I-80 in the Midwest and recently moved to the DC area. She is the author of three chapbooks: Every Her Dies (ELJ Publications,) Clotheshorse (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming, 2014,) and Backyard Poems (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming 2015.) She has written four YA non-fiction books (Rosen Publishing) and has many poems published online and in print. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in public places in Iowa City. Recent work can be seen / is forthcoming at Dressing Room Poetry Journal, The Golden Walkman, Split Rock Review, Toad Suck Review, Red Savina Review, The Poetry Storehouse, and Hobart. For a complete list of publications and other odds and ends visit: