Dean Olson

Coming and Going

I pass the winter-going of bracken,
the outer layer browning
bedding themselves down for their own good
and the good of the living;
lapping as they wane
encircling time in the pooled rain of winter.
Not at odds with anything,
simply finished
but for the pillowed seeding lying in wait
among disembodying fronds.

Faith is placed in me like the bracken,
daisies in grazed fields,
asters in hoof-trampled puddles.
I mix my withering bouquet with carnal spit,
and in the name of seasoned roundness,
gift the coming spring,
granting myself the last word.

Filling the Stillness

If you are not here when I get home,
sometimes I sit at the kitchen table
listening to the stillness.

After a while I bring in some wood,
start a fire, the crack of kindling sounding
like the door latch;

open a bottle of wine, watch it breathe
until the porch light senses its time
to push winter into the yard.

I will sit like this a while longer, the fire
a wall flicker, the porch light
a steady floor patch

until you fill the stillness, turn on the lights,

and I busy myself unloading groceries.
It's not something a man likes to talk about.


Dean Olson has published six limited-edition poetry collections.  He is emeritus faculty of the Evergreen State College, where he taught economics, cultural studies, and maritime history.  He lives in Olympia, Washington, with his children and grandchildren.  His poems have been accepted for publication by Prairie Schooner, Cascade #2, and elsewhere.



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