Issue > Poetry
Allen Strous

Allen Strous

Allen Strous, Circleville, Ohio, is the author of Tired (The Backwaters Press), and one of the authors of The Fifth Voice (Toadlily Press). His poems have appeared in The Ohio Review, Blue Unicorn, Rockhurst Review, and other journals.

Reading

A small dead tree on the slope of the hill
hung in the sky,
all the carve of branches, bark.
Darkness, stated.
A drawing, emphatic,
and the space it hangs in, emphatic as framed space,
absolute, no sense of littleness with that frame.

Like a drawing, it is nothing
really,
and this drawing means nothing—
still it means,
the merely dead tree with its background of air,
a puzzle
with its sure look,
emptied symbol, meaningless, meaning.

Every Stick And Stone

After the rain, the old woman and her grandson
look at the leaves come down, different green on the green grass,
sticks fallen in the yard,
how the water has moved dirt in a flowerbed.
They can talk together about these things,
the talk as aimless as the things.
They do not talk, and talk
of how leaves, sticks, dirt
do not make, and make, some pattern.
And there is not, is a mind behind this.
They are reading that mind,
blank mind—
if they can't say anything about that mind, there is still the feeling that it is here,
in this yard-work,
so they talk.

Earthed

How old is the sunlight, arrived here—
how new, ever new, here—
neither, nothing to do with me
—the too-ordinary summer day, clogged humid,
sick photograph,
dull light-writing—the utilitarian note left on the table,
the ordinary half-real

but the afternoon the sunlight was real,
into the new grave, onto a corner of the old vault
accidentally unearthed—still coated with dirt
over the well-preserved metal's phony elegance
now with age and earth
new enough—here again, and just here.
A massiveness, mass, holds,
the dirt comfortable on the gardener's fingers,
a smile of crooked teeth,
awkward, natural, something turned up in the garden.

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