Backyard Poem #2

The pines in Lake Arrowhead are dying. The bark beetle population exploded during the drought of 04. Now they pull up to the bark, drill, gobble up evergreen flesh, litter splinters on the road like a McDonald’s happy meal. Conservationists release wasps into the forests to kill the beetles. The wasps just sting children, who come running indoors, crying, shoeless. In spring the thirst, in winter the great stall. Summer brings out the wood chipper. The wood chipper whirs. Chains around trunks smash. Grumbling Ford trucks heave bodies down the mountain. The wood chipper like a third eye: channels bygone eras when men wore hats, community mismanagement, weed killer, insect repellent, misdeeds multiply ten-fold. Value disintegrates on everyone’s HOA web page. Without rooted trees, the mountain crumbles. The land shakes from an earthquake at five am. Getting up, not in season.


Jennifer MacBain-Stephens attended 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 Virginia. She is the author of the chapbook Clotheshorse, (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming 2014) and the chapbook Every Her Dies (ELJ Publications, forthcoming 2014). 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.  Recent work can be seen/ is forthcoming  at Vector Press, The Golden WalkmanToad Suck Review, and Hobart.