After Visiting My Aunt At The Cancer Center

A poem by Barry Yeoman

The sky could be bitter
but it won’t stop the stars
from burning retinas of darkness
into the silver-speckled
mirror of night, can’t stop
the birds from waking the dead
at sunrise.

A hawk snags a sparrow in flight,
a stray feather lands softly
in the grass.

All the sick addicts
show up at my door
begging for rides to the E.R.
Then to the pharmacies
where their new prescriptions
are turned away for “doctor-shopping.”
Back home they scream
and fight, slam doors,
their psyches calloused with delirium.

There is a buzz of electricity
as a large crowd gathers
at the estate sale,
an idiotic regurgitation
of coins by the auctioneer.

Candles are being lit
for more mass shooting victims,
the value of the dollar in China
plummets and Donald Trump
runs for president.

I tell you
I dreamt of dolphins
laughing like absurd clowns
lifted halfway out of the sea.

A fly buzzes, lands
and walks across a screen
only to be chased off
by a riding mower, blaring by,
blowing grass that a breeze
suctions against the mesh.

The day, I tell you,
is quirky as the dream.
An emergency vehicle
blazes by out on the street,
siren raging, followed by another.
Then quiet again except
for the regular flow of traffic.

I crack my neck loudly,
several times, and wonder
about my bones,
my skeleton in the ground.

We are entering that short chute
to the other side of forever.
We’ve survived so much strife;
close calls in cars,
street fights when outnumbered,
so many surgeries, traumas, sleepless
nights. So many conundrums
of existence, but somehow we remain.

Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath
blaring, the day ripe for bad news.
Sterile words are bandaged
inside my brain.

A thunderstorm blossoms
without notice, cracks and rumbles,
blows the trees insane —
the sky’s catastrophic bleeding
pounds the streets,
floods the gutters with rain.

Barry Yeoman is originally from Springfield, Ohio and currently lives in London, Ohio. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Vagabonds Anthology, Common Ground Review, Danse Macabre, Harbinger Asylum, Red Fez, Lost Coast Review, Crack the Spine, Gravel, Broad River Review, Soundings Review and The Rusty Nail, , among others. You can read more of his published work at

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