Poets’ Brew – May


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Ed Stover 5/23/2021

Contrition

In my heart I knew
I shouldn’t have ridden my bike
across the highway without looking.

Nor should I have been cutting
toward myself with my jackknife.

Nor should I have closed up
my little sister in the bottom
drawer of the dresser.

And I shouldn’t have pinned those
live crickets to the garage wall
just to watch them squirm.

Or tied live grasshoppers
to little stick stakes
and burned them alive.

Nor should I have
murdered all those sparrows
with my Red Ryder B-B gun.

For sure, I shouldn’t have run across
the living room and put my hands
through the closed window.

Nor should I have ratted out my sister
for watching the boy and girl
down the street expose
themselves to each other,
because I was watching, too.

And more than 70 years later
I still feel guilty for all the times
I made my mother cry.

And it was wrong to window peek
on the teenage girl across the street.

And it was wrong to masturbate,
and say the F-word
as much as I did.

Certainly, I shouldn’t have
run over that poor cat
with my mother’s car.

And I wish I could apologize
for calling Jeri Jones a pig
when she dumped me
for Ray Merriman.

And I regret getting busted
for being a minor in possession
and for being such a party animal at college.

And did I say I still feel awful
for being such a mean brother
to my younger sisters?

Deep in my heart
I knew I would go to Hell
for doing what I did.

But I did it all anyway.


Claire Haindfield

Fourteen Months


I had been acquainted with the sound of chaos,
Of overlapping voices and school bells and teachers chatting
And yells across lunch rooms and whistles on the soccer field and
Laughter as a swarm of ladybugs.
I had been acquainted with the sight of others
And the feeling of warm embraces and the shake of the bleachers at
Football games when we jumped together as one and shook the stadium like an
Earthquake.

I have been acquainted with silence
And I have been acquainted with distance
And with caution and with worry and with the death that lingers on
Wheat Thin boxes at the grocery store
And I have been acquainted with
Standing a grave’s depth apart from my best friend,
With flowers on our mouths and noses,
Chatting about volunteer hours
And how afraid we are of killing our mothers.


Polo Muñoz

Witness

I was there.
Autumn was a luminous antelope
And the trees were stoic.
In the wind the leaves knew the trembling of death
Over the asphalt.
I saw them roll down.
And then I knew.
I am as well passing by…


Lenora Rain-Lee Good

Standing


You stand before me
shoulders stooped
hands dropped at arm’s end.
It took effort just to stand,
I appreciate your feat.

You stand before me
unable to move your once
strong arms, your once strong hands,
to encircle me in the hug
we are about to share.

You stand before me
your old smile of joy
graces your face.
I see you as you were,
as you still see yourself.

You stand before me
I fall in love
all over again with the man
you were, the man you are,
the man you will always be.


Leon Petty

The Burials of Animals

The burials of the animals are not like mine
If they are pets
perhaps we share
filaments of my mythologies
figments of my comforts
A box, a bed, a note, a toy
A few strewn flowers
Pretty objects to obscure

Down in the ground
roots are knitted like stories
Rocks and clods
suspended in the dirty ether
as hard as living

I bury what I can
My heart carts off the rest
to crackle on its pyres
and echo in its tombs

It is clear
that what we see
is just a demitasse
of what is here

I worship the many death capped creatures
I have seen
The cats and dogs matriculating death
The dusty leathered rats pushing death away
The bird’s severed eyes, mirror glazed
Ids frozen ambling to hold another breath
Not sorrow but strife
with nothing able to persist
but retch and piss and shit and flesh
The dins of dying
nude
to bury deep


Dotty Armstrong

Rockhound


There’s hardly anything she loves
more than rocks.
Wherever she walks
she swings her eyes
down to the ground.

She picks one up
spits on it for color.
The sheen
the sharp, smooth angles of the break
the druzy sparkle
that almost winks at her
tell her, “Jasper”!
She lowers her find into her backpack.

This desert used to be
an ancient inland sea.
Perhaps today
she will encounter a rock with a fossil,
a white stripe of seashell.
Lots of milky quartz on this walk.
She leaves them. They have already
told her their stories.

With her sledgehammer yesterday
she broke a rock
looked like an old potato
It burst into
a small kingdom of blazing light
she held in her hands.

She feels wealthy.
Rocks are nearly everywhere.
Waiting,
waiting for her.


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