About this poet

Jeffrey Bean is the author of the poetry collections Woman Putting on Pearls (Red Mountain Press, 2017) and Diminished Fifth (WordTech Communications, 2009) and the chapbooks The Voyeur's Litany (Anabiosis Press, 2016) and Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2014). He is a professor of English at Central Michigan University and lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Kid, this is the first rain

of November. It strips off the rest
of the leaves, reminds trees
how to shiver. I think to Earth
it looks like the first first rain, the water
of the beginning, swirling down hot
into gassy soup. The bubbling stuff
that imagined trees to begin with, and also
mountains, kangaroos, dolphin cartilage,
stoplights. And you, tearing down
hills on Arnold street, a blur
of training wheels and streamers. And me
in the ’80s, crunching Life cereal on the couch
beside my night-owl mother, blue in the light
of David Letterman’s grin.

Try to remember, everything that is solid
is not solid. But slowly, always melting. The road
cracks, wrinkles like a folded map. Huge trees
lie down, throb into pulp inside termites.
And the ground drinks you,
though you grow, a tall drink of water,
going down easy. It swallows me faster
and faster. But don’t worry. Look at
our neighbor’s roof—those fake gray shingles
are crumbling, growing a thick pelt
of moss. Eventually
we all wake up as forest.

Copyright © 2016 Jeffrey Bean. This poem originally appeared in The Missouri Review. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 Jeffrey Bean. This poem originally appeared in The Missouri Review. Used with permission of the author.

Jeffrey Bean

Jeffrey Bean

Jeffrey Bean is the author of the poetry collections Woman Putting on Pearls (Red Mountain Press, 2017) and Diminished Fifth (WordTech Communications, 2009) and the chapbooks The Voyeur's Litany (Anabiosis Press, 2016) and Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2014). He is a professor of English at Central Michigan University and lives in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

by this poet

poem

everything we are is here—
my dead grandmother as a girl
hunting fireflies in tiger lilies,
me throwing walnuts at gas cans
by the barn, stomping mud puddles,
my sticky hands lifting an apple
to my mouth. Here are dogwoods

and hills of corn that lead to more hills
of corn

poem

the train never comes.

You smell it anyway, its blue-coal
body. In August, the fringe sticky

with Queen Anne’s lace, you might
walk these tracks inside

gigantic noons. I walked them.
You might smash bottles,

start fires, watch clouds from
your back, breathe clouds through

poem
Ella’s hands know she’s alive today.
Her piano is drenched in sunlight,
 
and she spends the morning coaxing hums
from its belly. She has made a pet of the wind,
 
and she lets it in through the screen door, feeds it
dried blooms from a