a poetry e-zine










Ron Riekki

Reap I


Death is a little bit confused today.

It’s a little bit early for confusion

considering He knows the future,


but He puts down his head to think.

“Death,” I say, for if I could keep

from being dug under the green,


there’d be nothing I wouldn’t

absolutely do. “Death, who wants

more sorrow today? Let’s eat souls


later. For now, whirligig. Go to a shoe

shop. Get pizza. Anything.” But Death

says, All my souls are old stars. His voice


feels like the end. As if the how never was.

I think many, Death says, I think many have

gone to church for the first time today.


And then, into the green, another. Beside

Death is my dear mother. Dear. And green.

The green before you were born.



(Previously published in Carcinogenic Poetry)




Working the Night Shift in the E.R.


we can’t eat.

There’s two patients


One on the third floor,

one on the fourth floor,

both of them in their eighties,

but only one of them

has family here,

her daughter,

her son,

someone called Big Jim

who holds her hand

the way that a chimney

holds smoke.

She will live.

The man alone

on the third floor,

we have to let him die,

simply because we cannot be

in two rooms at the same time.

And you have to be in the room

with the most family.

The dead can’t sue.

This is the law of the hospital,

the politics of medicine.

Learn it

before your family members

disappear too.

My God,

I’m hungry,

hungry as a ghost.



Ron Riekki's next book is The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works. "Beautifully edited, The Way North is more than a collection. It is a collaboration of writers, each whom understands in his and her own way what is sacred about that utterly unique, fresh water peninsula known as the U.P."--Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago, http://wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/way-north.

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