Helane Levine-Keating


and when we awoke
after the dawn fog had broken
and sun nudged away remnants of dreams
though our lids were still lazy
there were sheep nibbling at our toes
the ancient tinkling of bells
then the long line of the crook
the shepherd held in his hand
as he eyed us
patiently waiting


merciless road you have shown me the pockmarks
of the soul the clear orange streaks of grease
the impossibility of crossing due to flood

look at the way rocks are drawn to your center
ruts hide under leaves and now and then
animals insist on choosing you for a grave

how you have aged my road
so little of what you once were remains
anyone who knew you before would be

embarrassed to run into you
and would whisper about your
skin behind cupped fingers

yet neglect to praise
your arrogant steadfastness
the sinuous curve of your sneer

the sarcastic shrug of your shoulders
the absolute conviction that
you know where you’re going

Helane Levine-Keating is a poet, fine art photographer, and professor of Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at Pace University NY. Her chapbook Lunar Eclipse was published by Finishing Line Press in January 2018. Her poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, most recently in Like Light: 25 Years of Poetry & Prose by Bright Hill Poets & Writers, and she has had eight solo photography exhibitions.