Fallen Barn (Poem)

by Dave Rideout

every part of me aches
joints rusted sunset orange
and bones of glass;
shrieking tarnished levers
wedged in bolted doors

trapped in – a fallen barn –
sides shorn and splintered
a heaving chest of broken ribs
wrapped ’round stale air
guts tucked in dusty stalls

a mingled kindling haystack
like a wick in a field of wax
for the crack of heaven’s whip;
a flick of flame that turns a blaze
chases termites from my veins

until i form an ashen cot
mineral rich and soil soft
then mossy bed of forest green
or mast of bark and rigid limbs
rigged with leaves to catch the wind

Stream (Poem)

by Dave Rideout

I stared at myself
reflecting on the day
in the cold, glassy surface of
a stream years deep
but shallow just the same

I looked better or worse
based on how the light would change
so when lit up as the former
I touched a finger to my face

it rippled out like sonar,
and pinged against the banks
moving with a current
that pulled along my gaze

that’s when I saw the others knelt,
looking at themselves
sending their reflections
off toward the river’s mouth

on they’d go and out of sight
yet no one raised their head
they’d fix their hair or purse their lips and,
then they’d try again

the water swirled and clouded grey
a brine of them and me
a dull and uninspired soup
snaking toward the sea

an ocean from which we now must drink
that dries our tongues and numbs our taste
’til everything goes down the same
and stomachs growl for simpler days