Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is a nine-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 her chapbook,Before I Go to Sleep won the Red Ochre Chapbook Contest. In 2018 her poem A Mall in California took 2nd place for the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. She is the author of numerous chapbooks and six full-length collections of poetry, including Epitaph for the Beloved, (Finishing Line Press) and Alice in Ruby Slippers (Aldrich Press) slated for publication in 2019. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online, print publications and anthologies, including: The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Poets and Artists, War, Literature and the Arts. She is the Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal and a member of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board of Directors and the Saratoga Authors Hall of Fame. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson or at least her mother said so...

 

In Another Life

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In another life, I held a woman

in my arms and licked her lips

tinged with honey. I wore a veil

 

and thin black ribbon with a cameo

resting at the delicate curve

of my throat—the place where skin

 

hollows to the shape of bone 
and one finger's press can stop

a breath in motion.

In another life, I turned her hair

between my hands and braided

violets for the petticoat she hid

 

beneath her velvet skirt.

I loved her on a bed of grass

under the noonday sun—

 

there’s a hint of madness

in a love like that, a love that

couldn’t be—

 

like the key that hung from

a long chain above my mother’s

jewelry case, taunting me

 

all those years, exhilarating to imagine

the trinkets inside— I knew

they would be beautiful

 

yet unthinkable to touch and remain

in the realm of being a good girl.

In another life, I would

 

have defied the rules, stretched further

than my own reach, beyond the place

of obeying correctness.

 

I would have unlocked that box,

revered the gems, frolicked

in the inaccessible, save the guilt

 

like an unfettered prisoner in all her glory.