DEATH PAID A VISIT TO THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR
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.
SITTING ON MY SON’S PORCH IN LITTLETON, COLORADO
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.
LAST DAY ON THE DELTA
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.