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Friday, November 07, 2008


by Steve Hellyard Swartz

November ushers in its
Deep conservative browns
The golds, reds, oranges of October
Are raked, mowed, strewn
On lawns
As gone as my daughter’s treasure trove of
Milky Ways and candy corns

One tree on our street remains bravely gay
I can see it from where I’m sitting
It’s on Bob’s lawn next door
Bob, who said to me when I told him about my immigrant father-in-law’s cancer:
Nice of him to come here and get sick

I wonder what Bob and his wife Marge are thinking today about
President-elect Barack Obama
I guess I could ask him
He’s just come out of his house with his ancient dog on its leash
I see you standing there, a travel mug in one hand

Wait, he’s saying something
He’s saying

Come on, please

The dog is dying, that much is plain to see
Bob is looking up and down the street
Tugging on the leash
In heaven, too, the colors are draining
The dog’s flanks are shaking
He’s trying hard to obey
Come on, please
My hands are shaking, Bob’s too
Under the glorious stubborn late awakening
Of the last November tree

Steve Hellyard Swartz's poetry has appeared in Best Poem, switched-on gutenberg, Haggard and Halloo, and The Kennesaw Review. He has won Honorable Mention in the 2007 and 2008 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, as well as the Mary C. Mohr and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His poetry will soon appear in The Paterson Review and The Southern Indiana Review. In 1990, his film "Never Leave Nevada" opened in Dramatic Competition at the U.S. Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.