Poetry from JD DeHart

The Whale in the Sky

To live in a world where

the pale pearl of a cloud might

be filled with the shadow presence

of a whale,


swimming through the sky,

rising and falling in massive

flight, spouting cumulus from a cavern

mounted on its considerable frame,


and meanwhile, on the earth below,

only beautiful animals, no more slithering

creatures tapered at one end and filed

like knives on the other tip,


ready to cut us down, undulating

threats moving with soiled gleam.

On the Stalk


Silent orb resting

on a gum-pink quivering

base, waving side to side


like the arms of a crazed

fan during the World Series.


This appendage brings

to mind questions of how we

come to know the universe.


The sweeping finger, the lapping

dog tongue, the perusing

eye that travels a library?


Fragments of truth studded with

the remnants of perception?


Still yet is the question

of what we sense and its collision

with what really is.


The Fate of Our Forest Home
No more battery to combat
the incessant growth of nature,
encroaching on the old home.
At one time, little bare feet
would have patted out the upstart
grass shoots, dun earth defeated
by nothing other than play.
But the children went away, and
the adults followed after.  This is
a place of leaving, a testament
to farewells.
So, the rickety home with its
slapdash composure will soon be
swallowed by these weeds, disappearing
beneath them, blotted out.
People will get it was there to begin
with at all.
Imagine, if you will, a bottomless
restauranteur sloppily gorging himself
on buttered shrimp, chin dripping.
The world will likewise consume these
Tendrils will crawl up through
the floor boards, even in darkness,
windows will shatter mysteriously.
Hiding foxes?
Aggressive birds?
Sentient stones?
Home loses to time and change,
shaking away the muffled voices,
the susurrus of somebody else’s
forest-burdened childhood.
Herd Instinct
Hectic, they hurry across the
landscape, onward to another oasis.
This place is littered with blinking
signs and liquidation sales.
Pining for sustenance.  The distant
rumbles of some invisible predator
urge them on.  The food court has
been closed for a while now.
The predator is only in their minds.
There is no bear waiting to snatch them.
Soon, their shopping
will be done, but never really done.
Hard-scrabble, they wear the signs
of their journey, plastic bags hang on
their arms, shiny stones gathered
from the river bed of commerce wink.
A hiccup in the journey – the baby
is getting sleepy.  They do not have a list,
but imagine that there are more wares
to collect in the yawning storefronts.
Another day.
A Night for Neighbors
A slicing conflagration
that brings purity, or else a way
of filling the night air with smoke.
Later, ebony marks up the wall.
We arrange ourselves like careful
patrons on the lawn, watching the
spread of flames.  Someone should
call, if no one has.
Someone did.  Darkness is dressed
in rapid surges of blaring light,
siren sound.
Anchored in our restless search
for the next best program to fill our eyes
with, the shouts from outside woke
in us a primitive sensibility.
All of a sudden, we realized we
still had neighbors.  More than
just faceless voids who echo
hello and how-are-you emptily.
It was awkward, like realizing someone
else had been in the same room
for years, never really noticed.
Hi there, you in the corner.  What’s
your name?
Or someone had been trying to get
our attention for nearly a decade,
and we had only lolled our heads
in the air.
Oh, my.  Were you there all this time?
Suddenly, we were one.  Or at least
pretending to feel that way until
the lights were gone and we returned
to our channel flipping routine.


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He has a new book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, available from Dreaming Big Publications.