George Drew



Death paid a visit to the house next door,

an unexpected guest who entered unseen

through the front, blew the windows out

and climbed swiftly to the second floor,


piles of smoking rubble in his wake.

Greedy, he abducted the owner's son

and carried him away, never to return.

Four days later on a road not too distant


he took the owner, a crippled old man,

yanking him from his mangled truck

and with a rare display of real pity

giving him CPR and dropping him off


at the emergency room, miles away.

All that night Death kept silent vigil

in the waiting room, until near dawn

the old man took his final breath

and Death rose from his leather seat,

noted the time and day, made his way

to the old man's room, and like a shadow

that can't be seen leaned over the bed,

took the old man by an arm, and politely

helping him up, led him from the room,

in their wake the image of a vacant house,

its chimney scarring its east side like a row


of broken sutures, its empty windows four

black eyes staring blankly at its neighbor,

and stapled to the blistered skin of its brick

Death’s calling card, that acrid odor, stench.





With the aspen leaves rustling pleasantly

next to me, and the gray smudge of morning

giving way to blue bolts of sky and white

patches of cloud, and nearby someone’s chimes

tinkling, you’d think I’d be thinking thoughts

lighter than early sunlight on a welcome mat;

but no, I’m reading Richard’s Hugo’s poems

and meditating on his Montana, its decay

of oddly named and mostly forgotten towns

and abandoned ranches, its landscape

flat and forlorn, its surface like lunar dust.

Montana—how its syllables slip the tongue,

at odds with the heavy weight of Hugo’s decay.

How odd that such decay appeals to me.




 Like the first day it's warm not hot.

Clumsy clouds lurch across a hazy sky.

Boughs heavy with pecans swipe the lawn.

Dragonflies dart, strafing the air.


Deep in the Greenbough Nursing Home

Dottie talks about her cancer. She's thin

and getting thinner, bones more than flesh.

She doesn't like link sausage. We agree.


She likes her peppers hot not warm.

We talk about the snakes we've seen

in our gardens. She says that's how it is

with gardens. Wishes she had ice cream.


We change the subject to the sycamores,

how they have turned more orange

than red. She says she likes them green.

We promise her milk shakes next time.


George Drew was born in Mississippi and raised there and in New York State, where he currently lives. He is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently The View from Jackass Hill, the 2010 winner of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press, 2011. Drew’s sixth collection, Fancy’s Orphan, will appear in 2015 from Tiger Bark Press, and his chapbook, Down and Dirty, in late 2014 from Texas Review Press.

Posted on May 14, 2015 .