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


November 25, 2014

chess anyone?

I'm imagining someone bent over a fresh board, poised for footsteps. Despite
an early winter draft snaking upstairs, despite the almost-dinner hour and the too-small
likelihood of a passerby plucky enough to take the plunge, they are listening and patient,
ready for any stranger who might sit down. Such sturdy optimism. The invitation of it all.

I wonder if, at the heart of it, we forget to say exactly what we're looking for, anxious
that the details will cloister and confine, keep us from the thing we want. The sign I read,
narrowed as it was, stood beside an open door, and no matter what was next, there was,
at least, the certain knowledge it would include the pieces for a game to be played.
What little flag could I hold out? What batch of words would say it best?
What would I ask if asking were the only branch I'd need to build my nest?


November 18, 2014

the season of interruptions

The bathtub's falling into disrepair. The dining table's full of bills. The kids need
new socks, warmer boots. The screen door's pointless with no handle. The garage
could use a clearing out. The oleanders should probably come inside.
The dryer's on the verge, too, marking time until the fuses fray. There's a phone message
I am forgetting to return. And yet, underneath, the hum of something else, nuanced
and abstracted. Almost-words, a near-song, a tremble of piano music my hands
can't possibly have learned. It's hard to believe a disorder doesn't
drown the skinny line of syllables threading through this moonscape of demands.
How a melody emerges like counterpoint, the barest warble in the din.
How I lean toward these shy and scattered poems. What I tune out. What I tune in.



November 11, 2014


A pile of downed leaves. A bell that signals dinner. A rising lake mist
descended into by a single heron. A path marked by a handmade sign.
A stack of firewood. A tumble of pinecones. A circle of twine around a wrist.
Crayons on a folding table. Apples piled with peanut butter. The rungs of a spine.
Fog on a cold morning exhale. Hands on a hula hoop. The clearing of a throat.
The room is full of dancing bodies, but it's not about that. It's how you enter,
messy-haired and a little delirious, pulling a wagon of all the stories you wrote
that made you believe you were unfit for company. It's how you remember
those leaves, that bell, the mist and heron, the path and the sign and everything
that tells you you aren't lost, only taking your place in the gathering.



November 4, 2014

in various directions

I am watching the wildflowers struggle with the shifting sun.
It's not light they crave, but heat. I keep rotating them at the kitchen window,
but by noon they're all crowded on the same corner, and I'm wondering
how long I can keep them close before they go, doing what wildflowers will do.

Love, Christine said, is not for the faint of heart. This morning, the boys— 
freed from school—escaped in various directions; friends, a skate park. Anywhere
but here. Later, they will return, asking what's for dinner, and our quiet equipoise
will briefly disassemble as we crowd them with attention. At the table, we will hover
and fuss, and they will stare, wild-eyed, into space...or so we think. The sun will set,
bending all of us toward some horizon we don't have words for yet.


October 28, 2014

the man who isn't my father-in-law

We sit on the stacked bleachers watching Charlie take the field.
In between plays, when the cheerleaders rouse the crowd with their theater
and pomp, we swap stories about the boys. His name is David,
just like my dad, and he comes to every game wearing jeans and a windbreaker,
stays until the clock runs out. I admire his consistency, the way he looks me in the eye,
how he doesn't flinch at the circumstances that brought us here on a Monday night,
his son sidelined from a marriage and starting over at the age of 44, the woman he 
welcomed as a daughter now sharing her life with me. I thought kids were the most resilient,
but David proves me wrong. When the game is over, we rise and stretch, shake hands
before we leave for separate cars. "Thanks for being here," I say, and I know he understands.