Three poems by Justin Hyde


i no longer
pluck you like flowers
and lock you away
in that empty space
inside me

hunt you like dope
regard you like dope
use you up like dope

even as i
lean in
at the dog park

filling out a pair of jeans
to melt my brain
into fondue

i don’t try to lick her soul

don’t ask for her number

don’t take
any sort of spider stance

as she tells me
of a boyfriend
who plays video games all day
and never texts her goodnight

the alcoholic father
she lives with

the drug addled sister
and a three year old nephew
in a locket
near her heart

she is ripe
to be locked
in an empty space

i whistle
for my dog

shake her hand

and walk

blairstown pears

uncle denny
worked at a factory
in bell plaine.
he watched nascar on tv
and golfed when he could.
i never saw him angry
or heard him talk sideways about anyone.
he always had a smile
always did what aunt holly said.
every summer
he and aunt holly took me and my six cousins
on an overnight trip
to the amusement park in des moines.
i think he actually enjoyed it.
i judged him simple steady and banal
in my twenties
and never sought his advice.
my son met him a few times
before a back-ache turned cancer.
all he remembers
is uncle denny handing him a pear
from the tree in their back-yard.
blairstown pears he calls them
dad let’s go get some blairstown pears.
aunt holly sold the house
and moved to a condo in cedar rapids.
the pear tree is gone. replaced
by an extension
of the driveway.
uncle denny is still there.
thirty-seven steps from grandpa fiester
on the south hill
of the blairstown cemetery.




38, up in the air again, like a plastic sack

my eyes

draw bead
on 25 year olds
low-cut dress
close down the bar
plan a life

my heart

locks in
on 45 year olds
surgery scars
and wine

my head

is a pinprick decibel
behind the clouds

the time is not ripe
stay home
mend wounds
walk the dog
go to bed

is what i think
it said

as i pulled
my cowboy boots

into the night.

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