Scott Owens



When the hand comes to rest

on my shoulder, I won't turn around,

or smile, or open my arms to it.

I won't willingly rise,

death's easy trick of levitation,

from the table laid out before me,

some meat I've prepared, some

prepared by others, the drink

poured by all who came before.


I'll finish the meal, savor the last

drop of wine and ask for more.

I'll argue the time is not right,

a mistake has been made.  I'll call

names, scream embarrassing insults,

then dig fingers into the underside

of the chair, clamp teeth on anything

that comes near, slam my head

against their chin, the bridge of their nose.


Strong-armed angels, four at least,

will grip beneath each arm

and leg, pry at fingers

untwist feet from legs of chair,

and I'll use my words again to beg,

cajole, sing them into submission

for just one more second,

as if I had something

worth fighting to the death.





This November Sawyer stands

in a shower of leaves, first

the ones falling, then those

the blower sprays her with. Defiant,

joyful, unafraid of noise

or getting lost in any storm,

she lies down, begs to be buried

beneath the trappings of decay,

oblivious to suggestion or symbol.

It's so far she has come from three

autumns ago, sitting in a backpack

while I raked leaves into piles,

or two years ago riding in the wheelbarrow

between dumping and filling up,

or even last year's first jumping

into massive piles of oak and maple.

And now, while she is unconcerned

with irony, I can't escape it myself,

such joy, such flouting in the face of death.


Author of six collections of poetry and over 600 poems published in journals and anthologies, Scott Owens is editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Vice President of the Poetry Council of North Carolina, and recipient of awards from the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Academy of American Poets, the NC Writers' Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC.  He holds an MFA from UNC Greensboro and currently teaches at Catawba Valley Community College.



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