Annie Stenzel – On paper


Annie Stenzel’s (she/her) collection is The First Home Air After Absence (Big Table Publishing, 2017). The manuscript for her second collection was a finalist last year for the Washington Prize (Word Works). Her work appears or is forthcoming in Ambit, Atlanta Review, Chestnut Review, FERAL, Gargoyle, K’in Literary Review, Lily Poetry Review, On The Seawall, SWWIM, The Lake, Thimble, and UCity Review among others. She lives on unceded Ohlone land within walking distance of San Francisco Bay.

On paper

Certain words on a page are droplets
of the primordial;
stain of a clumsy spill.

Writ large.
Writ hard.

But the empty page

is a new playground
with excellent swings;

is a day forecast to be inclement
that turns out to be silky with sun, dotted
with cloud-shapes from a painting by Constable;

is a regional park with well-marked trails
that meander the hills, but are not so steep
they exasperate your knees;

is a memory that blooms out of no-place
and transports you 6000 miles to a different
season … surprise! you are suitably clad;

is a hidden garden, with a body of water,
cheerfully musical, from which you may drink
without fear.

The empty page is one sweet spring.



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