by Steve Rose
Before this age of a grave’s depth
between us, I would have risked it.
Now tears stand in the corner
curtains of a young girls’ eyes,
blue irises already rusting to hazel,
as I tugged my dog away from hers.
At a time before pestilence
we would have let them romp
and growl as far as leashes allow.
The girl would smile, and I
would clap my hands when she did.
We’d trade the dogs’ names if not
our own. Now shared breath is chancy.
The Methodist Church is locked,
handscribbled signs on its windows
telling us that not even Christ
is allowed unless He has
business approved by the bishop.
The church women rake & groom
near the door, make nude green stems
of lilies; sprinkle them with tin
water cans even though
it had rained the night before
No one has died in this county seat,
but the smaller the worm, the easier
it finds the gap in our armor:
where to burr, burrow, and birth.
Steve Rose’s poetry has been published in journals including So It Goes, a literary journal dedicated to the memory of Kurt Vonnegut, The Midwest Quarterly, The Journal of Medical Literature, Dime Bag of Poetry, and Lyrical Iowa. Steve’s poetry has published two books of poetry: Hard Papas in 2014 and Nebraska and Other States in 2017.