Ryann Stevenson

Dream of My Abductor



I woke up in your car

seat, didn’t I? It’s been so long,

so hard to remember.

Did you buckle me in?

It doesn’t matter.


The look on your face

when you turned from

the road, said shot-gun

wife. It didn’t say love,

which was a comfort.

Warmth through my limbs

my lungs, some kind of drug.



you pointed through the windshield

into the fantastic night—

remember?—and the spaceship

dipped its nose through the clouds

like it was saying Hi. A net

of twinkle lights.


Like your young, you carried me,

my arms, my legs folded

into day break through the long

hallway of a wood.

You lay me down

in the middle of a room

and I became a secret

then, but not a bad one.


And then you emptied me, sweet

abductor—away my footprint,

my name, my me: we said

goodbye to everything.


Goodbye great green room.

Goodbye telephone.

Goodbye red balloon.


Did you kiss me then? I couldn’t

lift my head, though remember well

my tongue wrapped tight

around a word like a pearl


you culled from my mouth

that bloomed in your palm

like petals or a Polaroid

of someone lost.

We Run From the Bear, We Are the Bear



Remember the dream about the bear

the size of a Subaru? It wasn’t about

that bear, but the other bear

it was chasing. It was big, too:

fur raised, wetted ends. 

It chased us into a stream

of traffic, and the inevitable happened.

All the people left their cars

but we kept speeding ahead,

past everyone with their mouths

ajar, standing in the bear-rain.

They were baffled, baffled,

but we weren’t.

It was like we’d lived it before.

And some days we live it again.

We fugue through entire weeks,

then look at our hands to remember

our hands. We return

to being shadow-children:

bear cubs, bear hugs.

I shouldn’t have ever been so small.

This is something we tell ourselves. 

We remember tents, forts, closets,

back when we were gymnasts

and fled to the safe tree

leaving our thick bear suits on the grass.

Within our furs we were something,

but something terrible, like a horn

in the abdomen. Outside them

we were the tiniest nothings.

You can’t chase nothing.

This, too, is something we tell ourselves.


RYANN STEVENSON was a finalist in the 2013 Yes Yes Books open reading period and winner of the 2011 Academy of American Poets Award at Columbia College Chicago. Currently, she is the Chapbook Series Editor at Phantom Books Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Blunderbuss Magazine, American Letters & Commentary, the Columbia Poetry Review, and So to Speak.