Poem from J.D. DeHart


Gains and losses, this moment
of looking backward, worried
that, like Lot’s wife, I will be made
salt in a moment.

A cold snap, the feeling of new
travels.  Yesterday is as one hundred
years ago,

each year, something peels away,
replacing past harms with divine
trust.  We move forward, press on,

through mud and through grief,
through the disappointments of others
we thought we knew and the victory
of knowing ourselves a little better.

Dear one, we had to say goodbye
last year, a farewell that led to some
new greetings.  Is the loss of a family
pet enough to inspire a verse?


And what then of the new year,
where we will uncover more, shedding
the children we were, putting
on new faces — no, we will only know
more details about the features

we already possess, the path,
our plans, our present reborn hope.

I could carry a torch for you,
but that would be arson.  I am
afraid such a blaze would only
create distance between us.
Love is made difficult by
Sick as a dog, I searched for your
muzzle, offered to let you outside,
thought of a treat and reward system,
but these efforts were in vain.
When you told me you were on
the fence, I looked for you next to
the blackbirds that visit every morning,
but you were missing in their song.
Instead, I found you clipping toenails
in the sink.  Next time you could at least
offer a bath there so that the metaphor
means more.
Finally, you said after while, crocodile,
and I checked myself for rows of teeth,
looked about, and understood when I
saw the swamp I was creating,
a neurotic miasma that surely
must have seemed as rough as a reptile’s
unwelcoming hide.
Loud Music
first appeared at Jellyfish Whispers
thumps of vandal music
fade as we rise
around the hill,
a lake finding us,
a water fall discovering us
and our escape
right before our eyes.
first appeared at Pyrokinection
Let’s go toading, someone
suggests, which I believe
is a game that involves
spotting the people in British
films that will turn out to be
lecherous heart-breakers.
Of course, I’m talking about
the polite productions
that draw on tattered novels.
I have grown in appreciation
for the British classics, with
their ever-present awareness
of the importance of manners
and wedding dresses.
Bald Eagle
first appeared at Pyrokinection
Must be some kind
of heroic creature beneath
the hairless form in front
of me.  Which reminds me
of my brother losing his hair
and what may soon be
my fate.  So I should focus
on the salad bar, the static
television across the room,
rather than noting the aquiline
nature of the man sitting
opposite me, who one day
may be me looking back.
Real Looker
first appeared at Pyrokinection
She’s a real looker,
and you can tell because
all the old men have turned
She’s a real looker,
I hear one of them say,
and I do not bother to turn,
instead imagining Emerson’s
roving eye, a bouncing
ball of observation.
Now that would be a Real
Looker, certainly so.
first appeared at Pyrokinection
Like the image of the old
bound in balms by the young,
the girl in a meadow, just
a painting I glimpse.
She cares for the weeds
the same as the tender floral dots.
Her voice is an uncommon
invitation to the young, and her
eyes float the roof of the world,
considering her next phrase,
or the next petal to drop.
One finger pointing, indicating
someone, something, just
beyond the limits of canvas,
an invitation to jump in, invent
the other face in the portrait.
Sloth’s Sway
first appeared at Pyrokinection
In the considerate movement
of the sloth, I see my own
sanguine approach to this day.
Problems without solutions
gather in my mind like a mob
at bedtime, and so I carry these
voices with me all day, more
worn by the night than I should be,
slowly turning my head, munching
a leaf, preparing to hop down from
my perch, but thinking better of it
in halting concentration.
High-Back Chairs
first appeared at Pyrokinection
Indecorous, the table
belongs in another room.
The wallpaper crisis,
aesthetics peeling in piles.
The high-back chairs join
the wing-backs for a seasonal
migration up the stairs.
I recall pictures of hollowed
out buildings, shavings, rust,
an artist who captured
ruin photographically.
One day my most carefully
preserved art will be nothing
but curls, hardly an insect
preserved in amber.