Three poems by S. Thomas Summers

Big and Bad

I believe in lurking, in weaving through shadow
near gingerbread houses where chubby children
stain their faces with fudge and candied yams.
I’ve begun to salivate when I smell frightened pork
and have assessed the power of my lungs.
I’ve developed a disdain for sunlight
and for grizzled hunters – their plaid shirts,
broad shoulders, and knit hats. I don’t need to be seen,
only felt – a cold wind. I’ll crouch in the dark
beneath the hedge, waiting until you notice
moonlight pooled in my eyes – a glint, then it’s done.


Of course you know the house is still,
heavy with silence. The furniture
settles into the floor – stones into mud.
Left on the counter to soften,
a stick of butter abandons its shape.

I’m a disturbance, a fish breaching
the surface of a dozing pond. Even the dog
ignores my shuffle, grunts, twisting
into her pillow as tight as a knot. Yet,
it’s the only time of day I can bear

an hour’s thunk. Hefting darkness,
Apollo crouched beneath his sin,
I position myself in the living room’s heart,
my back propped against rising day –
a pillar against its toil.

Conscientious Objector

I care not for this myth-making:
the clang of sword and shield,
beach sand jellied with the blood

of honor-bent brothers. Let me,
as Paris, dwell in a fig tree’s shade,
dissect an afternoon

with attentive eyes. Sheep
loiter in green meadows.
Daffodils tempt me with their passions:

sunlight and soil. Why chisel
my face onto history’s
alabaster? I’ll repose the while,

listen to hornets hum like the plucked
strings of harp and lyre.

About the author

S. Thomas Summers is a teacher of literature and writing at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, NJ and an English professor at Passaic…

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