The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Ronald Stottlemyer

Late Arrival


A little before dawn,
his eyelids slid open

for an instant. A red bird
peered in from the maple.

A few short sighs
then nothing, a worn face

held on a pillow, tired
whispers emptying the room.

Outside, just lifting,
the white breath of fog

slipped through withered
tomato stalks, the rake leaning

on the fence. Words left unsaid
as strangers wheeled him

down the sidewalk, one turning
the blanket over his head. Who

was I, left standing there
in that empty room, no longer

any man's son, feeling then
little more than I ever could?

The sun stalled in bare branches.
The frozen lawn glistened.



Ronald Stottlemyer



Look at the moon
coming slowly down the alley
with her belly full of light,

at the twisted black trees
huddled against the garden wall,
the Lab next door asleep

in his wet chain. Listen
to the truck working through its gears,
as it pulls free of the city

into the winding dark
of the canyon. And while you're
paused by the window,

touch the chilled edges
of your face caught in the pane.
Think how we live, minute

by minute, with little more
than gestures before lapsing back
into the coma of sleep,

the world moving by us,
its golden-white beauty always
out of reach.




RONALD STOTTLEMYER lives in Helena, Mt. Along with writing, he has a passion for amateur astronomy, Mid-Eastern cooking, and for living in the moment. He believes that real poetry has its sole origin in corner-of-the-eye surprise, that it lives only in metaphor, and that graceful syntax is the stone of its memory. The American Journal of Poetry is pleased to present Mr. Stottlemeyer's first published poems.



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