The Fall of 2016

by Nancy Dickeman

We push the baby through the crush of waterlogged leaves, past
a slumped brick wall
seared by a swastika’s fresh paint.
The jagged white arms loom,
stark as hooded figures igniting
a tide of embers.

Our one-year-old grandson has his moon face,
owl face, his soft hoot-hoot, fingers clutching
a giraffe. On this walk, he points to trees
turning, their leaves wrapped
in frost, and says bus-bus-bus
slinging the s like a snake in a bed of grass.

Parting the storm waters,
the bus sends a wave over us
so that for a moment that spray,
an ocean breaker rising
from the mulch-coated city street,
is all we see.

We step off the curb
hoping the ground
still lies beneath us.


Nancy Dickeman has written poems, fiction and essays which appear in Hawai’i Pacific Review, Post Road, Pontoon Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Seattle Review, The Seattle PI, OCEAN Magazine, Common Dreams and other publications. She received her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Washington where she won an Academy of American Poets Award. Her poetry chapbook, Lantern, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. She has recently completed her first novel manuscript, The Wind-Scattered World.

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