|Chagrin River Review||
David Oestreich -- Poetry
Beacon at Marblehead, Ohio
Beneath the lamp room; past the wires,
the cans of kerosene; past steps still bearing
whale-oil stains; outside the weathered door
and window pane; beyond the brick and stucco--
upon the relic shore (where no plaque frames
a tidy paragraph) I kneel and read the bank
of histories, written in shell ridges and the raised
veins of once green leaves, now bound in sediment.
By these light marks, set in this limestone shelf
before the engineer carved his first blocks,
my gaze may reach beyond this rocky coast,
these bare islands, to the obscurity of ages.
Upon Finding a Dead Turkey
Brother, you are fallen, wrecked, but
worth your weight in sparrows
to the flies
that thrill your final flight
toward wickerwork of quill and bone.
Shrouded now by Queen Anne’s Lace,
the shade of vultures
wreathes your head
(beaded red and blue in death as life).
Your chestnut fan and soot brown maille
hang limp, askew,
and trailing remnants
of a wing suggest coyote’s tracks.
Who was ever grateful for you that is not
And who will
note your loss but has not found you yet?
Or who will say one prayer for us?
After the Fact
Something was wrong—that gear
was missing and I was out back of the barn
where we keep the plow blade and the stuffed
manatee that sings Kissimmee, Kissimmee
come on and kiss-a-me when you pull
the lever on its back—anyway I’d gone out there
because without that gear your love would
never come back around and pulling
that lever is no fun without you--
I was one big reminiscence of Kissimmee
ransacking bags of old clothes, cake toppers,
programs from the symphony, and pictures of you
the night of your solo up in Toledo—weird
where you’d go after that—never saying
bonne nuit when you left to remind me
the night is a lady or waking me up when
you came home—just sleeping in street clothes
out in the old Lay-Z-boy—that’s back here too
under a pile of aquariums, beer cans, and bath towels--
a motel for anoles like the ones we kept finding
on the wall in our room that night in Kissimmee--
but that gear wouldn’t be under all that old crap--
and now I’m starting to cry because I’m starting to think
that the gear isn’t there and you’ll never come back
much less will you kiss-a-me or ever remind me
that men mistook mammals for mermaids and
soon I’ll be blubbering my grizzled chin flapping
like a manatee’s mandible mouthing the words
to some stupid song only tourists have heard
down in Kissimmee baby oh kiss-a-me baby oh baby
what happened in Kissimmee?
Just Another Blueeyed Boy
Who’d left the windows open that night?
Thirty-one degrees that darkest hour
and frost on all the picture frames. At dawn,
the chill of vodka shouted as loudly as it had
before we stalked sullenly to bed.
I remember the quiet steps we made once,
you and I, following a bloody trail,
hoping not to spook the gut shot doe--
one of many things dead but still able to run.
I wore running shoes to your funeral, but
still couldn’t get away. I stood there staring
at the dark tear in the earth; my feet
had turned to dirt, and, for a moment,
we were both headed the same direction.
If eyes are windows, they open
on no more
than a great blackness.
David Oestreich lives in Northwest Ohio with his wife and three children. His poems have appeared in such publications as Minnetonka Review, Eclectica, Hobble Creek Review, and Tar River Poetry.