Jan Steckel

The Queen of Green

On Halloween, when all the world’s
in black, white or lantern orange,
I’ll don a rich green velvet gown.
My hair I’ll spray both green and gold.
My face I’ll streak with greasepaint
the color of Oakland hills in March
after the rains. I’ll pull sparkly green
silk hose onto my legs, slide my feet
into velvet green gold-buckled slippers.
A wreath of the California live oak
that grows over our back fence
will be my crown. At my feet,
gummi worms will burrow,
aerating wet red mud for jelly beans
and candy corn to sprout. After that,
if poems don’t come as naturally
to me as leaves to a tree, then
Keats can kiss my verdant tuchas.

Jan Steckel is a retired physician, a bisexual and disability rights activist, and a poet and writer. Her Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) won the Gertrude Press fiction chapbook award. Her chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) won a Rainbow Award for lesbian and bisexual poetry. Her writing has appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Horizontal Poet, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, is available from Zeitgeist Press.