Literary Yard

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‘Herdsmen stick together’ and other poems by Ruth Z. Deming

By: Ruth Z. Deming


Chillingly cold
I stand at front door
at midnight
my forehead seeming
to freeze

Clouds like huge
grey curls roil
about the sky
in silent vengeance

All of us herdsmen
on our street react
in our own way

My hair, unfeeling,
feels the cold
I clamp on beret

Tiptoe back upstairs
to lie in bed, silent,
in serious study
of the cold
desperate to learn
the meaning of Cold.


Donny Garber came to mind
Brilliant physicist cousin whose
odd version of leukemia
was almost conquered
until a mack truck
smacked him across the road

Mon frere, David, what went on
in your mighty head, o photographer
of our family, lover of striped shirts,
of regimentation, waking up, drinking
‘gree,’ your childhood word for
orange juice.

The world got you down. It was no place
for a man with autism. Graffiti
on our mailbox called you a spaz
We heard you fall on your bedroom floor
from an overdose of Elavil.
Love you, man. Love. You!

At 59, my dad was dead. Greatest man
I ever met. Honest and cruel, unaware
of boundaries, the ‘crab’ attached
to his brain, knew no boundaries
and grew large as a sperm whale
while Dad lay speechless and
foolish, until he vaporized,
nothing dwelled within.

My first taste of death,
bruising my brain and seeping
into every corner of my body
still lingering there.

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