Samn Stockwell

Or the 21st

It is October 20th, for example
and my hands are rusty from cold
and do I dream of soft clothes
when I am watching cold draw at the trees
and crumple the last weed?

Down the street is a small sunflower in the lee
of an abandoned house and it puts itself
facing the curb, the points of the leaves
gesturing at a scrape of grass–
a sentimental street-corner preacher.

Any strength or nourishment I take from it
should be discarded–you would think I know
enough of sentiment to prevent it stealing
from the less winsome.

You would think I could admire
its uncontested supremacy
while loving the leveling cold even more.



Samn Stockwell has published in Agni, Ploughshares, and the New Yorker, among others. Her two books, Theater of Animals and Recital, won the National Poetry Series (USA) and the Editor’s Prize at Elixir, respectively. Recent poems are in On the Seawall & Sugar House Review and are forthcoming in Plume and others.