Hold Dear

J. Alexander Kinnear

Dead men sing during sunset

from radios on porches

while unspoken traditions

of families on these nights

hold them together. Alone

I pass homes lit in electric

gold that smell like mothers

in kitchens and home cooked

meals. Broken blacktop under-

foot, whistling with the songs

I know, thinking of you

and the half-furnished house

that is hard to come home

to. The winter white is weeks

away but the cold is sneaking

into bones and into half-

empty hearts. Autumn’s death

bed is earth lined with leaves

and gray smoke from chimneys

are ghosts caught red-handed

against the departing day.

These nights never bring me you,

steps hit empty streets, sounds

soles make go unanswered

even by the restless dead.


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