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Eight Poems
by JD DeHart 




Photos at the Graveyard


We visited the graveyard often

Even though we knew no one

In the graves themselves

It was at the crest of a hill

As if to place the dead skyward

With my Polaroid camera, I would

Snap photos of the markers, hoping

And simultaneously not hoping

That in one of them there would be

The wisp or specter of a ghost

When the products popped out

There was always that moment

Of ethereal mystery as the image

Faded into firm being.



a line, (a short blue one)




Wait a moment says the click

Dull slumber, the lull of crowds

A spark, then darkness

Feedback of the microphone

Poison to impatient ears

The program will continue

For now, we pantomime

With uncertain, strange gestures

Waiting for the earth to resume.



a line, (a short blue one)



Superhero City


Fourth grade math, split with fifth graders

The aged eagle swooping over the room

Resting at his nest on occasion, then up again

Back and forth, spreading grey feathers

“Sleep with your math books, class

Practice your fractions, and then practice more”

Last year, the kid had won a division contest

Now he is confused, one number over another

A strange display, another language

With about half his mind, the pencil forms walls

Small figures in tights, vigilante emblems

Of course, the paper is snatched by the talon

“Superhero City,” the pedagogue intoned

“Will not solve your math problems.”



a line, (a short blue one)



Missing Dog Metaphors


Down the bends of the road, they called his name

Over and over again like a meditation

small dogs have a flaw in feeling larger

All the world, all people, constitute a friendly place

Surely, there is no harm to be found here

So, the family searches the familiar places

Around them, the homes of strangers are quiet

After two hours, they discover their dog’s betrayal

He has taken up with another family

The new father already purchased food and a bed

“We’ve always wanted one,” the new mother says

The smile spreads across her face like butter

They walk away sadly, members of the old pack

Listening to the yaps of the tiny Brutus.



a line, (a short blue one)





an ancient wisdom

or just scribbles from




or product of a bad



tiny words to bind

compress and heal

a wounded soul



a line, (a short blue one)



Start Stop


silent men around me

seem to know

there is a time for rutting

and feeding on corn

a time to sit still in cold



start the cleaning

of the firearm and stop



start the squeezing of

target practice trigger

              stop again



a preconfigured notion

of manhood starts

and I stop it at its

bubbling source

thereby redefining.



a line, (a short blue one)



Fragments of the World


moments floated past me

as I walked the old courtyard

photos suspended in the air



images of a younger me

a more frightened person



I thought of the crisis time

when I had to decide

between who I was and who

others made me out to be



every poor decision

and choice of wording

navigating to my purpose

and how soon

rain would come and autumn

would be thicker than memory



a line, (a short blue one)



Fried Mushrooms


mother fried them

in butter

like everything else


they started as brown

and webbed

then were rolled

and carefully breaded


we ate them at the small

metal table

my father made for her


always patently

domestic in his gifts


a line, (a blue one)


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