Annie Stenzel

“Poor all of us with such heavy burdens”

(João Gilberto Noll)

Heavy is the burden, a painful certainty:
no place is safe for us—the market,
the dance floor, a kindergarten classroom,
an outdoor festival filled with revelers
I’d call innocent if the word still meant anything.

Heavy is human reality: a lifetime blinks
past in a splash of sunlight, then lightning,
drops of rain. What to do? How to endure? Is there any
refuge beyond the brief, sweet flickers offered
by music or art? Hide. Seek. Hold on.

link to video 

Annie Stenzel (she/her) was born in Illinois, but did not stay put. Her second full-length collection, Don’t Misplace the Moon, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in May, 2024. Her earlier collection was The First Home Air After Absence (Big Table Publishing, 2017). The manuscript for her second collection was a finalist for The Word Works Washington Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in print and online journals in the U.S. and the U.K., including Atlas and Alice, Chestnut Review, Galway Review, Kestrel, Nixes Mate, On the Seawall, Rust + Moth, Saranac Review, SoFloPoJo, SWWIM, The Lake, and UCity Review. A poetry editor for the online journals Right Hand Pointing and West Trestle Review, she lives on unceded Ohlone land within walking distance of the San Francisco Bay, and pays a voluntary monthly land tax to help restore Indigenous life.