Wayside – TheScreamOnline
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At dusk, many find refuge there,
and by nightfall
Have spread their quilts, and gathered where
the distant calls

Of birds are lost among the leaves.
Some choose to sing
Of other times, in melodies
that still can bring

Those shadows near. Some, close to sleep,
are drawn by streams
That glimmer, far away, and keep
resembling dreams.


Not sleep at all, that from our eyes
we brush away
In those first moments, nor surprise
the night’s array

Of dreams has vanished with the dawn.
Rather, the sense
That something not quite touched is gone.

Most rare still lingers in the glass –
that strange demeanor,
Those flowers momentarily passed
by some dark gleaner.

(Previously published in Trinacria)


It stood before the ancient hall.
And has no hand
Touched it before, I asked? Doubtful,
the ferryman

Replied, turning toward the river.
I reached beneath
One huge head, felt the jowls quiver,
the acrid breath

Rankling my fingers. A tremor,
but nothing more,
In those eyes. And I a stranger
on that bleak shore.

(“Cerberus” was previously published in Atavic Poetry)

Jared Carter’s most recent book is Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, available from the University of Nebraska Press.  He lives in Indiana.

Photo ©Joanne Warfield