In June 2005, I began a weekly poetry practice. The goal was simple: to write a 10-line poem every Tuesday. The purpose was to have a manageable deadline to create new work and a dedicated platform to share it. I sent my first 10-line Tuesday poem to about 200 people. More than eight  years and almost 4,500 lines later, I continue to write "10-line Tuesday" each week, and these poems now go out to nearly 1,100 people around the world. A backlog of poems from the past two years can be found here.


Add me to your mailing list!




Meet me on Instagram @mayastein


September 2, 2014

what there aren't words for yet

What those hummingbirds in your chest whisper when you tell
your first lie. The toothy rumble of the lions that scare
your lungs into giving up. The edges of a leap—half-murmur, half-yell—
the steer your feet away. The guffaw from the shadows tempting you to ignore
your own magnificence. The boisterous roosters pecking holes in your plans. The tire
tracks cajoling you to stay on course. How we search for a plain sentence
to fill the cracks of heartache, for language to pull us, like a ladder,
out of each dark and muddled well. We think thunder is a metaphor. Or the fence
dividing one yard from the next, its own instruction. But the story's yours, you know.
There is no better way to say it. Make the words up as you go. 


August 26, 2014

scrapping the lawn

It would be simpler, surely, to stay in tune with the neighbors, whose yards 
rest, placid, at the foot of each house with nary a dip in topography save
a trio of bushes soldiering the front windows. And it's true that what you've got planned
is an upheaval you can't predict, a loose cannon of horticultural proportions, since
you've neither the education nor experience to guide you, exactly. But there are sacrifices
for every choice that goes against the grain. You don't slash and burn without cleaving
from your own comfort. Even now, as the lawn lies partially scraped and scorned, you see
you could turn back, patch the broken pieces, ignore the song of wildness and color
calling you. Maybe the grass doesn't need changing. But you do, and that knowing's clear
enough to wrap your novice hands on awkward tools to find the garden living there.


August 19, 2014



Because the towels need three loads before they dry.
Because the canvas is heavy and dizzy with paint.
Because the root is too thick to come out the first try.
Because the highway is long and the towns are quaint.
And the dog doesn't like it when you take out the comb.
And the neighbors aren't ready for friendship just yet.
And the house takes its time before it is home.
And the kids take their cues from the place that they're met.
Even mourning and loss elapse by design.
Even joy has a schedule. Even love has a plan.



August 12, 2014


When she swallowed her final, decisive pills, did my grandmother know
I would still be talking about our standoff in the kitchen 37 years later?
Did she think I'd remember the particular way she played the piano,
or the dollhouse she built, or the smell of her Cadillac, or the turquoise water
of the pool she guided me through during my first attempts at floating?

It is impossible to fathom that clutch of capsules on her tongue, and the motive
that closed her throat around them. That story isn't made for quoting.
Instead, there is the hatchling yellow of her bathroom. The sleeve
of cellophane around her caramels. The squeak of her garage gates. The sun
like a wink on her face. Her perfume. All those games of checkers she let me win.




August 5, 2014

after the revelry, the reverence

The dance floor was a delirious tumble, the room heating
with each collision. Trips were made to the makeshift bar.
By the time dessert was served, barely anyone was sitting
down. Even Jean, in her shyness, shimmied closer to the center.
But it was the last song I was waiting for. Just us,
barely swaying to the tune, lights down to a single bulb, guests
gathering their things for the night. How in the end, it comes to this:
what we make in our quiet hours, what catches fire after the bursts
and blaze of flame. Her cheek lay against my chest. I touched her hair.
The space between us closed for good. We floated in that prayer.