The Pickup
By Richard Dinges, Jr.

The man who bought
Dad’s pickup turns
into the drive and Dad’s
dog guns out to the door,
tail wagging, jumps up
at the window, tongue
lagging, till the door opens
and the man appears.
Dog backs up, hair
raised, haunch down,
barks and snarls, backs
up another step, barks,
then trots back to me.
Dog rolls over on his back,
legs in air and surrenders
when I do nothing
but greet the man
and take the check.
The deal final, nothing
more to do but hold
the dog, while the pickup
turns away. Dog raises
his ears, pulls against
the collar I hold, ready
to run after the truck,
ready to retrieve
him after so long,
never giving up.

By Richard Dinges, Jr.

When Grandpa fished,
he fished downstream, out of sight
beyond stands of damp weeds.
I heard him zing his line
but could not see where it hit
the water. We each fished
our own hole and shared later
what we caught. Those silent
times I thought about my line
and the tremble that traveled
into my fingers from the current,
or the tremor from a strike,
or the beat of our hearts.
The creek passed both our lines,
connected within the same current,
until he pulled out his line first,
knowing there was nothing left
to catch, and left me waiting,
hoping to catch more.

Photos of Faces
By Richard Dinges, Jr.

When I was a child,
a black and white photo
of a little boy fascinated
me. The face was just
a little boy who stared
at me. On the back
were printed the words
of my father’s name.
I looked into those eyes
to see him and he was not
there, just the ghost
of who he was labeled
by a memory I did not
share. Now when
old photos of me loom
out of distant memory,
I look into the book
back to when I was the little boy,
and he stood in my place.
Only now I carry the ghost
of his name with my
little boy photo pasted
in the album beside him,
with the cover closed,
and I stare at him in the dark.

By Richard Dinges, Jr.

A wave a hand through air
that disperses with a soft
brush across the palm, what
matters so little in the memory of
what happened only moments before.
Science tells us
solid mass is no more than a
flock of black birds, whole in the sight
where your eye touches the form
as it wanders across the horizon.
An image lands on the ground
at your feet, then explodes upward
when you reach down to touch it.
Simply to grasp anything,
to hold it whole, passes too quickly
in your blinking eye. Words spoken
through ear’s range, never to be
certain again except that you feel
and remember the prickle
of hair on your skin.


I graduated from the University of Iowa with an MA in literary studies, which qualified me to work at an insurance company as a business systems manager. My poems have appeared or will appear in upcoming issues of Creosote,, Poetalk, Small Pond Magazine, and White Pelican Review.


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