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Sketch of a man in the air

He sits with his legs crossed
now apart
the weight of his head
is in his hands;
they cup his chin.

Frameless glasses hover over
a prominent nose.

His hair thins
like the gold band on his finger.

Fingernails—well cut.

His thin chest is opened by a
faded blue polo.

I’ve forgotten to finish my coffee. 
It’s lukewarm,
like hazel eyes.

Drawing by James Steck

A Friend in Southwest Virginia

The gardener walks through the soil
admiring zucchinis 
cucumbers and tomatoes
growing from stems—

dirt beneath the toenails
and a smile with berry skin in his teeth;
he tells her he’d like to kiss her 
beneath the bones

and to be the fence around her garden
or the tree beyond, 
the can holding tobacco
or the branch for a bird’s nest,
the zucchini, the cucumbers,
the tomatoes—
to be anything else but me.

View from the balcony across the street

Only occasionally there is a candle lit in the living room; 
the apartment is congested with vetiver, clove, and 
cardamom as the cars outside are sacrilegious at dusk. 
We hold the grains of the evening grey outside.

The windows smoke in the sunset reflecting stoplights;
Walk upside down; shuffle heads through feet. 
The fabric of the entire city; the symphony of the humidity 
is liquid through fingers reaching out for a single smile 
and nothing else. What is inside of that pupil below 
not noticing the reader above listening furiously 
for that soft echoing shadow of a heartbeat?

James Steck grew up in New York, and now lives in Washington, DC. He teaches high school English and coaches track and field in Fairfax, Virginia. He often draws in relation to his poetry. His writing is influenced by romanticism and realism while focusing on contradictions, the body, and everyday life. You can find his work and drawing at The Rye Whiskey Review, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Ugly Writers, The Woove, and The Silhouette Literary and Arts Magazine.


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  1. mary protheroe

    The Art and the words compliment each other. Very well done

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, I appreciate the kind words


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