Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: JD DeHart


No, it does not matter which color
of undershirt I put on today. It’s not
a grand symbol of what is to come.

A shirt is a shirt, just like a step
on a crack
is just a step – no harm intended.

I remind myself the people around me are
not archetypes.

They are people. With families. Band-aids.
They expel wisdom and unpleasant opinions. They exist

beyond a page. Even though I prefer fiction,
even though my first date was with a character
from a novel. She’s all grown up now,
disappointing in a controversial sequel.

A bullet I dodged, for sure. What
embarrassment that would have caused
at family reunions.

As I leave and get in my car, this is not
a grand theme. This is not a climactic moment,
the car is a car.

It’s barely a metaphor, but if it was it would be
a representation of change.

But maybe this is just another drive, and the narrator

is my own sense of trying to attach meaning
to a random series of filaments and streams,
trying to place nice with the real world,

or else
fleeting words from the last good book I read.


Model Student

After I glue on the last
eyelash, I step back and smile.

What masterful work.

All of the children in their little
hardhats sit, attentive, waiting for
the next curriculum map task.

So life-like.

I position the arm above
the paper, move the pencil:
What do I write?

The same sentence as one hundred
years before, many times over.
Let me help
you form the first word, a static

There, now. Keep going on
your own. We must click and hum
like widgets in place.

Except we don’t, except
we never do. The window is open
on this mechanized dream. Heartbeats

always interrupt the ridiculous sounds
of gears.

Anyone who tells you anything different
about the human condition is a liar, a bad magician,
or worse yet –

just trying to sell you something. Life
will not fit so neatly into a bubble sheet,
people alarmingly leave the script behind.



To be wiped clean, heavenly vision,
to sweep backward in time –

Send me back, send me back, but
that’s not how this journey goes.

The track stretches on and what of
all of these marks, maps on webby

veins of life? Indelible in the eyes
of some, the powerholders, the station

setters, while erasable by those with
kind hearts, shaping the world as it

should be, stuffed with grace, new
beginnings; otherwise, we creatures

of smudged earth, blackened cheeks,
covered with soot, keep digging.


John Ramm ‘22

It’s been a while since he’s stamped around,
now well past middle age. Just last month,
he pulled his back out for the first time.

These days, he wishes he had stayed in the office,
tucked away, misjudged as a brazen creature
of the field ready to sew his seed.

Nah, not him. Just a well-medicated fellow,
victim of a singular bad day. Then the damn
pandemic came, and he was home all the time.

He mostly watched Tiger King and Picard,
ate manufactured cheese snacks, ice cream,
red wine and melatonin.

Now, he’s scratching the name of some
hidden sin on his hairy leg, getting back in shape
(sort of) and trying to sell himself hope.

Some days, he thinks back on the past few years,
a feeling of the net closing in on him once more,
hooking his horns –

the earth shifting away.

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