My poem Tilth has just been published in Issue 26 of the Evening Street Review. Really nice print journal (hint, you should submit there). Here it is:



as we sat in the Skeller,

she joked 

that she could 

get pregnant from a handshake

and Charming Eddie,

that world-class weasel,

jumped up

and overturned the table—

spilling beer and peanuts—

just to be the first

to shake her hand.

I hated that he

beat me to it.

But that was

long ago—

when we were first year

medical students

and would recite for each other

the bones of the hand

the nerves of the face

the symptoms of rickets

and mispronunciation

might cause a mouthful

of beer to spray

across the table.

Today, I watch our kids

file into her stark white room

where useless instruments beep

over the rhythmic hump

of the respirator

and where we have known for months

that she has lived too long.

The kids are grown now

and scattered like 

dandelion puffs.


for the first time in years,

we pass around 

a yellowing photo album—

and pause at a picture 

of her in her first white coat,

grinning like a caught-out child

as I reach for her hand.

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6 Responses to Tilth

  1. maryrohrerdann says:

    oh, jesus, Steve, this is heart-breaking. How you go from light-hearted memory to present-day anguish – wow.

    Mary Rohrer-Dann

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”

    Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”


  2. John Ziegler says:

    A really good one, read it twice!


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