by D. R. James

Published in Issue No. 255 ~ August, 2018

A profile like a pasty corpse robed

in silk pajamas inside ‘the home,’

the laughter like ashes in their ring,

the psalm of grief hovering like a period,

the calm shadowy fraud,

the jokes, the riddles, the emergency

moans buttoned into blind lounges,

the waterfalls singing of the grass, the gory gray ocean

breathed from below, from a quaking basement:

all late-middle-agings, conveying and lurching

like barks blown away in the wind.


after Neruda

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D. R. James has been teaching writing, literature, and peace-making at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, for 33 years and lives in the woods east of Saugatuck. Poetry and prose have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, and his newest of seven poetry collections are If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press, 2017) and the chapbooks Split-Level and Why War (both Finishing Line Press, 2017 and 2014). When not cycling with his wife, psychotherapist Suzy Doyle, he divides his free time between staring at the woods from a recliner and staring at the woods from a deck chair.