Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Photograph Truth’ and other poems

By: Duane L Herrmann


Young woman looking
utterly uninterested
at the tiny form
at her breast.
No emotional connection
or response
to her first born.
What is she thinking,
impassive face,
towards this child
of her womb?
There is no joy,
no amazement or delight.

What a hell it became
for them both,
with tortured decades



I could not walk
across the room
to her approval,
nor swallow,
or close my lips,
or any other thing
she demanded that I do –
her jobs anyway.
But most frustratingly
I couldn’t even sleep
to her satisfaction.
Her chronic anger
gave no peace,
no calm.
As a little boy
I felt no love,
no safety, no home,
I had to create my own.
What comfort was there?
None, alone:
There was only me.
At an age
younger than I knew,
I found my thumb
and sucked it.
That was my sleeping crime
my mother hated!
I needed the security.
She took a photo once
to shame me.
The flash explosion
woke me and
I heard her triumph giggle.
I was smart though
and figured out a way…
Next day, in bright sunshine,
I exposed the film.
She never knew.
Once I left home
and constant screaming,
I never noticed,
but quit my thumb.
My life had peace
at last.



“Today so-and-so Elementary
was the scene of…”

Little children
trying to learn
shot in surprise
easy targets
and teachers
who tried to protect
but could not.
The “right to bear arms”
now means
others lose
the right to peace
or to live,
“well regulated militia”
is ignored.

Another good day
for the NRA.



Sitting at my cubicle
looking down the alley
airplanes kept coming
directly towards me.
Short as the alley was
I knew it wasn’t possible
yet, still,
the planes kept coming.
Supervisor asked if
anyone needed to go home.
I couldn’t even answer.
The planes kept coming.
At the same time
I was in a plane
with my son:
“We’re going to die.”
The week before
we’d flown home from Europe,
now hijackers
were crashing the plane.
I told him I was sorry,
we hugged and cried.
My phone rang
the caller didn’t know
words did not come.
I’d seen one tower collapse
on the breakroom TV.
I could not speak,
the planes kept coming
directly toward me.
We are going to die
I hugged my son and we cried.
The planes kept coming.
The day would not end.
“I’m sorry,” I told him,
we hugged and cried,
we hugged and cried.



caught us all
by surprise,
to see,
for the first time
how singular the earth
floats in space.
Expecting the moon
we found the earth:
that blue-white spot
isolated, alone,
in vast, alien space,
gave awe to all
seeing now
our one home,
one homeland,
one human race.


Duane L. Herrmann, a reluctant carbon-based life-form, was surprised to find himself in 1951 on a farm in Kansas.  He’s still trying to make sense of it but has grown fond of grass waving in the wind, trees and the enchantment of moonlight.  He aspires to be a hermit, but would miss his children, grandchildren and a few friends.  His work has been published in many real places and online, even some of both in languages he can’t read (English is difficult enough!).  He is known to carry baby kittens in his mouth, pet snakes, and converse with owls, but is careful not to anger them!  All this, despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD (both unknown at the time), cyclothymia, and now, PTSD.  He’s still learning to breathe and do human at the same time.

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