Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.

Steve Myers

Dove, South Mountain

On the Ohio River by unknown American artist

Under the yew, a dove repeats its four-beat note in twin spondees.
Sundays like this fifty years ago, I’d listen to a cote of them
call crocuses from landscape stunned by ice-belt Pennsylvania’s
blunt force trauma,
                              then rise from the tenderness of bed and
girlfriend and walk to the newsstand on Meadville’s Diamond
for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

.                                                    We’d talk Nixon and Kissinger
over instant coffee and Harry Lender’s toasted bagels, “the Jewish
English muffin” we bought frozen at Krogers. They seemed the sole
incursion of The Chosen in that corner of the world
.                                                                                      save for Solly
Blau and the several members of campus Hillel who hosted seder
each spring. Each spring I’d read for the stupid son; each spring
finish with wine and weed.
.                                            Parsley promised cold’s submission,
sun streaming in our bedroom window, the dust motes floating,
snowmelt runnels in the gutter—
.                                                         sure signs of cabin fever’s end
and winter’s procession of ample Penguins: Tocqueville, Melville,

The Life of Johnson. The abstruser conclusions of Middlemarch.

“Teach thy tongue to say ‘I do not know,’” promises Maimonides,
“and thou shalt progress.”
.                                            Sabbath having set on the Lehigh Valley,
turned the hour hand forward on our one remaining analog clock
last night. Surfaced slowly this morning through dawn’s blue dim
.    slaughter in Atlanta. Mass death in Calcutta. A Myanmar junta.
Suits and uniforms, their yawns and laughter. This is progress, Rabbi?
I do not know.
.                        From our kitchen window, we watch five deer rise
like bipeds in the mist, pluck shriveled apples from leafless limbs,
a sharpshin on the lawn savage a junco.


About the writer:
Steve Myers has published a full-length collection, Memory’s Dog, and two chapbooks. A Pushcart Prize winner, he has published sections of his Pennsylvania poem sequence in places such as Callaloo, Juxtaprose, Kestrel, Penn Review, Permafrost, The Southern Review, Stone Canoe, Tar River Poetry, and Valley Voices.

Image: On the Ohio River by unknown American artist. Oil on canvas. 25.1 x 45.1 inches. Circa 1840. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.