• Eric Greinke

Two Poems


Heat Wave

A prolonged heat wave

brings order to our days.

Here in the northern woods

we’re not used to hot weather.

We write letters

through the cool mornings,

swim through

the hot afternoons,

toss through warm nights.

A big red fire engine

blares down

our two-lane road.

Its tires burn rubber,

leaving black brush strokes

as it rounds the corner

in a rush to engage

the flames in combat.

The Cold

On an early morning in March

a gourmet chef walking his dog

discovered two frozen corpses

beneath an expressway underpass.

One wore four layers of clothing,

the other wore just three.

They were stiff & frost-bitten,

fingers & toes a pale, alien blue,

lips white as a high lone cloud.

A nearby shopping cart held

everything they used to own.

One man had the business card

of a rehabilitation center

with a meth dealer’s number

penciled on the back,

folded in half in his shirt pocket,

close to his frozen heart.

The other clutched

a knife in his stiff fist.

The gourmet chef took the day off.

Eric Greinke’s poems and essays have been published in hundreds of American and international literary magazines since the early seventies. He is the author of twenty books, most recently The Third Voice – Notes on the Art of Poetic Collaboration (Presa Press, 2017), Masterplan – Collaborative Poems with Alison Stone (Presa Press, 2018), and Shorelines (Adastra Press, 2018). He is also a Contributing Writer for Schuylkill Valley Journal.


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