"Player One Has Entered the Game" by Gervanna Stephens

The security company alerts me of the alarm going off.

It starts at the same location always, till it doesn’t, 
never when they think I am home
easily changing jumping over sections and blaring on their side only.

        They pull up all armored and caring, 
        ready to check and haul off the contemptible almost 
        an hour later. 

Why would anyone stick around so long after the dog whistle echoes?


The security company assures me that if they come 
inside I will be safe.

I don’t feel unsafe and I think their presence confounds like 

        girl you are confused. you hurt yourself in confusion. damn.


The men in black all strapping and from the company insist I tell 
them if everything is alright though it should be obvious, 
door pounding dangerous alerts me to invasion, 
van still running and black bags for what reason.


The security company tells me 

this is what I paid for, 

        tricky silent alarms to gain access, 

        steal my composure and intimidate till I am confused,

door opening to the help which does not explain 

what you responded to when I 

haven’t left the house all day.


The security company reminds me dat duppy know who fi frighten

and I do my best to hit harder against all 

the men who tell me 

lies and use opportunities to steal 

a part of myself and gain points in a game that obviously 

is called Pat of the Archy for short.

"Predictive Text Says" by Gervanna Stephens


I’m a poet who has a few good yesterday’s left
like yesterday I bawled
till my eyes bled lipstick red
throat perforated desert and wailings


Predictive text says
my poetry collection is about dates and pictures
on a reel with her journal
open to spheres of
birth poems
like I could ever write under a theme
or pregnant with expression enough
to birth epics
like when have I ever
used sphere in a sentence?


Predictive text says
my novel is about a John Legend coupe
like I know all of me is giving
the green light to love me now
like everybody knows it’s
you and I tonight
like without the E, this could easily be a coup—


attempt to write a poem
attempt to kill time
attempt to forget that I am improbable statistics
attempt to turn my pillow to lover
attempt to crucify Rumpelstiltskin over and over
first-borns should never be promised


like yesterday I birthed this poem,
headache and full armor
like the theme of this could be swallowing my words
like I know nothing of coups


Predictive text says
I’m a girl in hiding
says one day, hiding will be laughing
and laughing will be searching
and searching will be germinating
and the darkness will be envious
of all this matter
this body
this disorder, is it predictable that 
I am just here by a thread?