• Robert Joe Stout

Robert Joe Stout, three poems


Single Parent

Kitchen rich with the smells

of coffee and honeydew melon,

hot steam iron

and last night's rain,

I lean against the counters

that my daughter has cleaned

and watch her

shake the blouse she's pressed,

inspect both front and back

and nod,

then, laughing

Gee, I'm late!

Can I get a ride to school?

The house accepts my presence

as I return, displace the silence

with my reading of the sports page,

nibbling toast,

rinsing dishes in the sink.

Little things

I still can hold

return my fingers' touch.

No Longer Young

On the prairies there are barren patches.

In the jungles thick and tangled growth.

Feelings come up through our roots

and flower, fester, tremble, curl

—a process that goes on, that we can't stop.

We and all these growing things

react to what we've lost. Your fingers

on my skin now have a starchy touch.

We are who we were going to be

those many years ago when love was flush.

Kilometer 76

She neither scowled nor smiled but simply climbed,

expressionless, strapped to her back a child,

round face carved as though from glistening wood.

The path wound past a stone-walled shack

into thick brush that seemed to part

to let her pass then closed again.

A scrap of cloth—tatters of red—

flapped brief farewell and something howled:

a child? a dog? or who she once had been?

Robert Joe Stout is a journalist living in Oaxaca, Mexico, who has contributed nonfiction, fiction and poetry to a wide variety of publications. Much of his writing is focused on social and political themes involving people and events , present and past, that affect the United States and country in which he resides.


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