Robert Joe Stout



Roots filigree

broken plastic and shattered glass

pockmarking a civilization

where two wild creatures

claw each other’s flesh.

Our screams startle wounded animals,

our choked, wasted

voices whisper



as voices did

in those first, rude Mesopotamian huts.

And in palaces.

And beside westward trails.


Lives spin out like gossamer

the wind will coil,

reuse. I lift my bones

from hers


and a star goes out.

The melody dims.

We dance alone.

Old Man


Shadows clinging to the hills darken clefts

where trees once grew. Standing there

alone he sees a hawk disappear


behind a barren sheaf of rock

and hears the barked alarms of distant dogs.

The rain, lifting, seems to cupola the town,


a shimmering roof of dripping gray.

With it he floats away, into thoughts

that are not words but pulses


of remembered dreams, love words spoken,

goodbyes said. Head bowed, he smiles and waits

for warmth, the sun, another seamless day.

Robert Joe Stout is a freelance journalist and currently resides in Oaxaca, Mexico. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear in a wide variety of commercial and literary magazines.



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