Speech to the Land-Bound
By David Duer

Say to the land-lubbers,
the seasick sailors,
the ocean-averse,
the lake-leery,
“Time to be at ease
with being a-sea.
A bailing bucket
can keep afloat
the leakiest rowboat.”
Aquaman got a bum rap.  
And was not Aphrodite 
born of sea foam?
Try this: Abandon
the compass and charts.
Set yourself 
adrift, unmoored.
For we are all 

after Gwendolyn and Emily

Recalibrating the Center
by David Duer

A break from winter or precursor to spring
walking through “puddle-wonderful” streets
with a friend and her dog, a faint 
glimmer at the end of the tunnel. 
We’re learning how to rethread 
the strands of our lives, greeting
everyone as if they were our friends, 
our sunny friends, our pandemic friends.
Our shoulders brush lightly under 
coats – happy frisson – as we navigate 
a narrow passage between snow banks. 
Arias sung from balconies and back porches
melt the winter of our hearts.
We’re learning to hold grief and joy
in our hands in equal measure, 
recalibrating our center.
We stop to talk with a young artist 
working on the entrance walls to the Longfellow 
Nature Trail tunnel (under the railroad tracks), 
his cart outfitted in a cloth apron
with many pockets for his spray paint cans.
We compliment him on his artwork,
making it complete, the way viewers 
complement the creator.


David Duer is a recently retired high school English teacher whose work has been published in Ascent, Exquisite Corpse, Milkweed Chronicle, English Journal, North American Review, and Poetry, among others. His prose memoir pieces can be found at his blog “From Now On” (davidduerblog.com).