Jeanine Walker

I Become a Nest


One must have a mind heavy in thought
to gather shadows like eggs in an apron.

Captured, they yield: I move to quash
their gloomy nature. Slatted cupboards,

mouse holes, knots in trees, vineyard arches
now pull in light like a poem.

But no––it’s just fantasy––shadows
secure a propensity to multiply, whether

I wrap them up or not.

One must have a mind heavy in thought
to keep shadows like eggs in an apron. 

Shadows wet the ground they walk on;
anguish makes an apron damp.

But for me, I find true,
when I shoo dark shapes into my folds

like children beneath an attic’s eves
I become a nest for the resting shadows.

They crack; they birth in me; they fly away.


Jeanine Walker holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature from the University of Houston. She has been the recipient of a Donald Barthelme Memorial Fellowship and an Inprint Brown Fellowship. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Narrative, and Web Conjunctions. She has worked as the Writers in the Schools Program Manager at Seattle Arts & Lectures since 2009, has been a member of the Seattle performance poetry groups The Four Horsemen and Re Drum Machine, and she writes, sings, and plays trumpet for the country music duo The Drop Shadows. Jeanine also teaches poetry classes at the Richard Hugo House and serves as the emcee for the Cheap Wine & Poetry reading series.