Three Poems by Eric Greinke

We are very pleased to feature three poems from Eric Greinke in the forthcoming issue of NDQ 86.1/2 (2019). They’re vivid and emotionally demanding in confronting pressing issues of climate change, poverty, and inequality in a personal and intimate way.

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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.
We hope it’s not too late.

Locked Out

I was reading a newspaper
in the public library,
minding my own business,
when I overheard a ragged man
talking to the security guard:
“They say I should have finished
school, so I had a better
job, or practiced better birth
control. I shouldn’t have
gotten drunk or wasted
money on lotteries. But now
we can’t get back inside.
Now every damn animal has
something we don’t.”
I kept reading the same article
without comprehension,
minding my own business,
as the guard led him out.

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 & frostbitten,
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 has new work in the Bryant Literary Review, Loch Raven Re- view, Over the Transom, Pennsylvania English, Poetry Pacific, Prairie Schoo- ner, Rosebud, The Schuylkill Valley Journal and the Taj Mahal Review. His most recent books are Shorelines (Adastra Press, 2018) and Invisible Wings (Presa Press, 2019).

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