The last yellowed leaves
from the Norway maple spiral,
dive and pirouette to ground –
hours of raking pyramid after
pyramid, the tedium of stuffing
bag after bag, the impulse
to light a match, to resurrect
the late fall smells from boyhood –
the bouquet garni of maple, elm and
oak in sweet burn, the twist of blue
smoke, the upward curl into
blue November sky, soundless
as the pause over this final mound.
Next door, the open garret window
the thump of heavy metal blues,
the whiff of dope – he must be
in his 40’s now, still sponging
off the old man, his baseball visor
backwards lest you miss the message.
I’m thinking, what would he know of
Son House and Bukka White, smoky
Delta blues, or the smell of leaves burnin’?
If the Egret Could Speak
The photograph, a gusher of truth –
the lone egret, tarred and feathered,
forlorn on the despoiled beach, tears
of black ooze dripping from wings
no longer able to fly, to swoop for
sustenance in the sulphured estuary –
scant days from death. I imagine
being stripped of primal instinct,
the urge to take wing, to dive and fish.
Death, then, brings freedom, a cleansing.
Sadness engulfs me – heavy,
crude and angry. And if the egret
could speak? Might it tell the story
of man doing unnatural things,
boring the ocean floor four miles deep,
the arrogance of it all?
© Krikor Der Hohannesian
Krikor Der Hohannesian’s poems have appeared in over 175 literary journals including The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review, Comstock Review and Natural Bridge. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, author of two chapbooks, Ghosts and Whispers (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Refuge in the Shadows (Cervena Barva Press, 2013) as well as a full-length book, First Generation (Dos Madres Press, 2020). Ghosts and Whispers was a finalist for the Mass Book awards poetry category in 2011.