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Four Poems
by Steve West


        SOLD AMERICAN


        Depression ware, American Beauty, I think.
        Furniture, antique, I assume. Junk
        In boxes across the yard.
        Old Mrs. Johnson has moved
        To Green Lawn.
        (Good Lord amighty, she must have been 110!
        She was old when I was just a kid.
        My, yes! Sheís been a widow for 50 years.
        You remember olí Freelon Johnson, used to run
        A sawmill down round Floral?
        Thatís his widow just now dying? Good
        God! She was past old.)
        I bid on a box of pink dishes.
        Buy it for a few dollars.
        But I feel guilty at this pilfering
        Through a personís life.
        I leave early, cradling
        My culpability
        In cardboard.


        ...................................................................

        AUGUST


        It is oppressive, this heat so yearned for
        Last winter.
        Marigolds survive. I water them every day,
        Watch wasps come down for drinks.
        Frost will take care of them.
        Days of heat, nights of humid silence,
        While the lights of the baseball
        Field contend with treetops.
        I sit in the yard, waiting until cooler
        Midnight air moves in.
        And think of those wasps,
        Seeking warmth of window
        Panes on October mornings.


        ...............................................................

        I WANDER AGAIN TO THE HOME OF MY CHILDHOOD


        Thereís a dirt path to Mt. View
        Like a string through dead leaves.
        Daffodils mark the boundary of our house place.
        The storm cellar looks surprised.
        A tunnel of mosquitoes down the well.
        Barb wire joins me,
        Wanders off into a pine grove.
        A field of horses crop grass,
        Switching flies that arenít there yet.
        Next to the gray ghost of a shed,
        A í54 Ford with sumac
        Sprouting from the windshield.


        ..................................................................

        NOCTURNE


        I think of nights of music;
        Symphonies, distant,
        Remote as youth.
        Jazz from well-lit rooms,
        Brittle as love,
        Reflections of discontent
        Into solitary corners.
        Folk songs, measured by chords
        On old guitars and bass,
        Refrains of disillusionment
        In ĺ time.
        I rehearse those nights too often,
        With thoughts like curtains
        Idly tossed by the hot breeze
        Of a late July night.





      Steve West grew up in the Ozarks of Arkansas, went to college in Mississippi, and now teaches in Tennessee. He says he's "totally Southern." West has published poems in recent numbers of Prairie Poetry, Phantasmagoria, Number One.


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