John Stephens


The screaming wind knocked on pines

that rained cones by the thousands. Down

they came, drunk and wild, their last hurrah.


And now the cones that lie on the ground,

are just prize fruit the dog likes to chase

and chew. My neighbors fill bird feeders,


tell me, “You need a haircut, John.” They

retired to watch birds, clip Pennysavers,

and when they can, to cast the first stone.


My therapist tells me, “You need to listen,

toxic interactions are not solvable, that’s

a problem in marriages.” I hear the rain


of everyone’s words, and all I want to say

is, “I love you.” But that’s complicated. So

I wait for scented cones to fall from the sky.


John Stephens is the author of Return to the Water (C & R Press, June 2013), which was reviewed by The Georgia Review. Other published work includes poems in Stone River Sky, An Anthology of Georgia Poems (2015), Iodine Poetry Journal, Amarillo Bay, and The Penwood Review. John lives in Milton, Georgia, and his gifts have helped to establish the Adam Stephens Night Out for Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Poetry @TECH series.