Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Packing Steve

by Sylvia Levinson

After the clothes are folded into the suitcase,
cosmetics zipped in their bag, gathering of shoes,

jewelry, the underwear, vitamins, phone charger,
curling iron, and—just in case—first aid supplies,

and from my desk, books, pens, a blank journal,
I notice your photo propped next to my computer,

knuckles curled thoughtfully under your chin,
that familiar look of whimsy aimed straight at me.

Can it be almost two years since you died, beloved poet,
teacher, guide, and still your Brooklyn accent chides in my head

“Are you sure you want to write it that way? Say it simply,
say it well, say it in English!” Friend, I cannot leave home

without you. Slip between the pages of my notebook
and come along to Maui where, together, we will at last
get that poem about the forest right.


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Sylvia Levinson

has been a proud resident of San Diego County since 1974. Her writing life began in the 1990s, when she worked as Sales Manager in the creative environment of the Old Globe Theatre, where her poetry muse appeared spontaneously one day. Publications include: chapbooks Spoon (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and Gateways: Poems of Nature, Meditation and Renewal (Caernarvon Press, 2005), and poems in City Works Journal, Snowy Egret, SD Writers Ink, Magee Park, SD Poetry Annual, Ekphrasis, Blue Arc West, Serving House Journal, Waymark, Mamas and Papas, Hunger and Thirst, Sunshine Noir II, Tidepools, Acorn Review, Poetic Matrix, Golden Lantern, The Best of Border Voices, The San Diego Reader, and others. A personal narrative “The Poetry of Food” was published online in The Christian Science Monitor.

Her awards include: Honorable Mention, the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, 2017; Finalist, San Diego Book Awards, 2013 for Published Poetry; National Award Winner, City Works, 2007; Best Poem, San Diego African-American Writers and Artists, Inc. 2004 and 2006; and Best Poem, City Works, 1997.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury