Robert Beveridge


Calming Thoughts

man on the street
hit with brick
dropped from overpass
skull shattered

baby born dead
takes mommy’s life
through placenta

depressed teen opens
wrists over warm tub

driver junk child hit


nine months
since our last
our only
my lips are cracked now
seek that moisture

your voice for the first time
in weeks
still flows over me
like rain
from the body
of a just-washed lover

we float by words like anchors
holocaust, moon
and we cling to them
until they slip from us

and we drift on again


in your head you hear echoes
of six million dead
who call you to sing
their histories

you stare at slate blue
homemade paper
pen slick in warm fingers
and close your eyes
see that six-million-
name landscape
look for an edge to pull
a thread to unravel
a place to begin


you took your child
to touch the moon rock
at the Air and Space Museum
as you did at that age
as I did

the act passed on
and you stare at slate-blue
moonrock-grained paper
and look for a way
to sing the tradition down

a few notes, a phrase
to improvise
to build into your own song


you are still married,
afloat on a raft
of lashed-together coconuts
as the thunderstorm
grows closer.

“I got the final
papers today,” I say.

You’ve poked your nose
into the courtroom again
and you wonder about the possibilities
of it all, how much you
would suffer if you left
yourself to drift with the tide

which way your daughter would float,
what anchor she might grab onto

you tear a sheet
of the homemade slate-
blue paper in half
look for something in the grain
that might tell you how
to flatten it out, make it
say the things you want it to.

Nine million dead
and one child more alive
than any of them ever were.

“Do you still fantasize about us?”
“I’ll take the fifth.”

Sweat-shiny, rough
with lust, your fingers
pick up the pen
touch it to the grain
of the slate-blue paper.

You let the anchors go
and drift
and write



Hypertension Center

In the wood
beside nothing
but a back road
lies the Hypertension Center

stressed out executives
and harried housewives
pay thousands of dollars
to come here
for medication and escape

every Friday on my way
to drink cheap shots
and socialize
I turn the radio extra loud
going past it—someone
has to let them know
the real world
is still out here




In the median strip
of the traffic-jammed state route
two men use Jaws
of Life to cut a tin
woman from her car door

across the street
children play
in a just-opened
McDonald’s Playland



Shards of Forever

Five months since you came
to me with open arms
and whispered forever

now, broken, we stare
at the shards of forever
cascaded around our feet

I kick a path
through the tinkling pieces
and walk out the door



Robert Beveridge makes noise ( and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Chiron Review, Zombie Logic Review, and The Literateur, among others.


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