My Sierra


between red rock mountains

and leopard sand.

A kings canyon

of stubby green

desert trees. Stuck

in the hands

of continuously tanning land.

Between here and gray air

clouds drop to kiss

Waucoba tops and the sun

favors the left side

of my dry eyes.

I save my sighs for the puddle

of bumpy salt

beds inhaling the middle:

set to suck below

all vegetation overgrown.

I-395 falls from its high

terrace into flats of

flappy sunburned terrain.

And I

get surrounded

by sounds of elk footprints.

And cocoa cones with black

sprinkles like to eat

deserted fossils,

who first ventured that 14,491

foot elevation—

where white can run

still on stilt

shadows of dense rock.

When the sun sits behind

a patch of clouds

and my sulking quail

beams as

bright as snow.

Stephenson, Ayshia E. “My Sierra.” Open to Interpretation. Forthcoming June 2013.





In your black, evergreens swallow the moon. 

Over the border, ah-woos blow campfire wind.

Pulse pulse light, to moans of one loon.


Flashlight flick fall past feet; the world’s a teaspoon.

Water fills the air, bubbles fall and burst on napkins.

In your black, evergreens swallow the moon. 


Little loon, your wings caught in a net too soon.

A balloon floats on top: waiting for gravity to weigh-in.

Pulse pulse light, to moans of one loon.


Pass pass train with people, your horn sounds out of tune.

In your sky, babies grin, a billion stars birth twins.

In your black, evergreens swallowed the moon. 


Two lovers lie on the sand, wet sugar stuck to their spoon.

His reflects, hers absorbs, she has peels of tamarind.

Pulse pulse light, to moans of one loon.


Feathers keep their bodies; they sleep in your cocoon.

In your sky, the ground lives for skin.

In your black, evergreens swallowed the moon. 

Pulse pulse light, to moans of one loon.


Stephenson, Ayshia E. “Pulse.” Clarion. Boston University Press. Fall 2009. Print.

In Church with Branded Knees

I don’t want IT to tear my clothing off anymore. I don’t want IT to crush my serenity into this tiny spit of a paper ball/pit stuck in my throat/fit like a child who wants to say/can’t lick IT out. Branded knees need a buffer from a pebbled surface. How can I stop IT? My voice echoes throughout the room and seems to become louder, as IT bounces around/knowing IT came to fuck/useless pews. My eyes slide shut and IT haunts me – takes up face of the man who I never thought would stand at the church door, to give out pamphlets on my secrets. The sunlight paints as it passes through windowed blues and reds and purples to land against hairs-old-newborn/still upper back of my neck. Or was it my imagination? For maybe my travel has maddened my memories to make things look messy. I’m two tolls, two states, and too much fresh air away from IT – but still gasping for the repaired mobility of my movement. Here to communicate lines cut off a mess of leaky circulation. Now where from wine went unconsumed, it’s a pity I still want to taste IT. When misery splatters, you can never clean it up. Crevices of grapes nurtured to death smell up my shack. It’s a brown paper bag turned inside out.

Stephenson, Ayshia E.  “In Church with Branded Knees.” A Gathering of The Tribes.  September     2010.