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by JD DeHart





Now, here it is,

nestled in the ice path,

resting restless


at page’s side.


While the wide

blank field might

draw the eye,


free of lilt, unmarked,

virgin ground,


it’s a landscape

largely without contemplation.


Look instead at corners

of circumnavigation, the story

echoes from the mountain’s


sharp spaces,


often just out of sight,

spoken over, 

ignored                        removed


a palimpsest reaching

onward, outward,


a counternarrative

ready to recenter.




a line, (a short blue one)



Predators Are Often Silent


Of course, we had no idea 

such teeth were set just at the boundary

of quiet tree line.


Who might have known that a hungry

force could exist as a mere shift

of darkness to light?


Such a soundless movement.


We have so many complicated

stories of assaults in cacophony,

yet damage can swiftly switch foot

to claw,




My wife tilted with a rustle, 


to make sense of the change,


considering the air, looking at me 

as if to say: Do you see it too?


I could only nod in July’s 

amber porch glow,

before we turned back inside,

retreating to the safety of society.




a line, (a short blue one)



Does the Horse Deserve a Poem?


What seemed like imminent death

galloped towards me.


I must have been fourteen,

thinking I knew more than 

I did (probably still think that way).


Still galloping, he turned to the side

and passed gas – loudly.

Then trotted away. Anticlimactic.


Here I am talking about this 

decades later, and does this moment

deserve to be preserved in poetic



The horse, no doubt, is long since

passed on. I keep his legacy alive.


I saw him in the hollow,

at the neighbor’s house where

I cried at the age of twelve


because I misread country code –


threw a rock at a dog that was

chasing some deer, which I thought was

a universal action.


I can picture him now not stopping, what 

might have been. Coming face to face

with barnyard rage, trampled.


When he saw that I did not run, I suppose

he decided there was no fun in it,


leaving me with only another story

to tell from the country.


Years later, I would tell my students

and some parts of this story always earned

an enthusiastic guffaw.


Perhaps, they might think, the best

story I ever told.




a line, (a short blue one)



Too Nice


I suppose they might say,

except those few who have

whisked moments to froth.


We are travelers here one time,

so far as I know, and forestall

rather than rush to rage.


Nevertheless, backed in a corner,

I can find the bone-edge

words and deliver them,


well past the wishing

for compassion instead.




a line, (a short blue one)



How Unexpected


this new window view,

a trip to share about Salinger,

meeting Holden Caulfield



The story takes a turn,

a moment of decision, and here

I am, whispering and singing



on a new and yet familiar stage,


celebrating words from Zora

Beale on down to Long

Way Down,


and so will state again

a love for the written word.



a line, (a blue one)


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