by Bruce Gunther

Barbed wire sags like flesh,
discourages trespassers from 
stepping into the abandoned pasture.
A plow blade rusts within the permission
of knee-high weeds.
The gutted backdrop for the homes
of gynecologists and lawyers
is the woods where we launched
snowballs at passing cars.
No one remembers the reek 
of cow manure so pungent 
it took your breath away 
during summer’s steamiest days.
My father’s gravestone, rarely visited,
cools in the afternoon shade
of Owen Cemetery; his ashes buried
in a green plastic pail.
Unease my passenger while 
driving home – memories
of the place’s essence slip
through open fingers like  
waters of an ancient river.

by Bruce Gunther

The bugs I dreamt
were on my back 
are beads of sweat
from my fever.

Fully awake at 6 a.m.,
I strip naked of soaked bed clothes;
the rest of the house sleeps.

My middle-aged body:
stark, pale, exposed
in the dim bathroom light.
No part of it awake 
except muscle memory.

My feet irregular slabs 
of bone on hardwood.
My manhood in full retreat.

Another dry cough 
racks itself in my chest.

My face stares from the mirror
as a car crunches over snow crust
on Livingston Avenue,
moving forward 
into morning darkness.


Bruce Gunther is a retired journalist and poet who lives in Michigan. His work appears in The Dunes Review, Modern Haiku, the Loch Raven Review, and others. He can be found on Twitter at @BruceGunther3.