Jordan Stempleman's poetry has previously appeared in such magazines
as Bridge Magazine, Word For/Word, Moria, and New American
(forthcoming). He was awarded the Academy of American Poets,
Lannan Prize for Poetry in 2000. Currently, he lives in Tucson with his
wife and daughter, where he teaches history and economics to high
school students with special needs.

A House in Bisbee

Indigestion, the minerals
Of once rock, water pulled
From wet hair, downward
Along lit back, to puddle
On brazen cloth, covering
Moves upward, favorably so,
Meeting the wind, the surge
Of chicory, out kitchen
Window, some mess
For succulents, casually seedy
Beside rock, copper mint

Leaving the Head

The water came and went
The cup remained

As it should
For someone else
To discover and wash
Thinking at the sink
How far down

They must clean
To get every other night
Out from where

Sides meet bottom
Levels of discussions

That once held on to this frame
Are replaced
By the one singing

Redundant in a whisper
Out of tune

The Leveler

In air there can be nothing to conquer.
Time drawn in, then filled with whatever

it is that leaked from its earth, all that is learned
by this ration and our country,

more or less itself in each coming month.
The ability to reason while drowning

feels much like what must survive between the law
and what one wouldn't eat. Before,

I would have been anxious, bored,
now, those who stay to their strains

are everything, as everything will be
as far as distance allows. Too long of a stare

rode to the front of thinking styled him at this depth;
we allot attempts taken to each month,

so that after we walk away, to go on doing

what it was we were doing, it might be said,

how serious was that additional moment
to the impossible mind that taught it to belong?


Now because they needed
that appearance,
the used age in it,
the divot it left
as a stain from a fly.

Couldn't it have been
so fully so, without
the notions to go on
trying to figure it out.
Instead, letting the space

that leads expanse
come back to it,
strained in the distance,
to put the once plain
back together as it once was.

Back to Front.