Dear M by Jenny MacBain-Stephens and Meg Tisinger

Jenny MacBain-Stephens and Meg Tisinger


Dear J,

Lose yourself in the woods.

I place trinkets

in tree-hollows for squirrels to find.

They are not edible.

I don’t venture out county.

Here is the place to watch 

a zombie uprising.

You can see anything coming.

I could pick them off from tree-tops.

I don’t like to play games

that have too many rules.

Stick to UNO.

If we’re talking nostalgia,

then I miss Pepsi-Free

from glass bottles.

My grandparents had those in their basement.

It tasted like medicine,

but also comfort.

This time of year

it’s cheese curds and hard sausage logs.

I guess that’s why so many people have summer birthdays.

What is dangerous where you are?

Parents name their kids 

like window cleaners.

I’ll laugh when the salt

starts eating up the roads.


Dear M,

The foliage devours me

my children succumb

to a different kind of scrubbing off.

Squirrel nests cover

blood orange broccoli trees,

chuck trinkets in my face. 

That would be the worst way to go,

deciduous exposure

and death by marmoset.

Candlestick horror films breathe

mesquite odor for a touch

of Stockholm syndrome.

You said you were visiting Columbia.

Succumb to green dinner plate palms

and moisture.

Is it better to live dry or moist?

Forests must get sick of our colors,

the same peaches and browns

and tops and bottoms.

They must wonder

why we never change

not knowing all of our spreading

is on the inside. We measure

our changing by their changing

Molecules explode by millisecond. 

I am here now and not there

my bones are still my bones  

my soul concave.

Peel away

bark of home,

bark of flatiron,

bark of body.

That is why people

travel to outer space. 

Our eyes covet

the same shapes

then detest us for the sameness.

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in the DC area. Recent chapbooks are out from Be About it Press, Dancing Girl Press and Shirt Pocket Press. Her first full length collection is forthcoming from Lucky Bastard Press. Recent work can be seen at Jet Fuel Review, Pith, So to Speak, Entropy, Right Hand Pointing, Cider Press Review, and decomP. Visit:

Meg Tisinger went to the University of Iowa and makes a mean kale lasagna. She has a love/hate relationship with horror films and takes photographs. Also, some of her poetry was published in Pretty Owl Poetry.