Two Poems

by Mike Lewis-Beck

  • Poetry
decorative header image from Volume IV Issue 1 · Fall 2017

Spring Salad

First shoots—

backyard weeds & flowers

of April. Headless dandelions with sweet quill greens,

chives spiking through a broken pot.

Garlic tops tassel from the wintered patch,

light like feathers, with a light taste.

Chervil, hidden in the rock garden,

under the dauntless sorrel

sorrel, so sour,

softened by chervil’s licorice lace.

Violets everywhere, reigning purple,

divine jewels in the salad crown—

I put a white one in the center,

taste the earth’s promise.

Warrior Buffalo

I know a buffalo, this buffalo

I smell, his body standing close,

a cowbird perched atop his towered back

just so, grubbing bugs. He’s heaving,

his scat’s not right, there’s blood.

A second shot from my Henry rifle

rends his chest, a bone dangles

from this 2,000 pounds of thunder,

weaving through prairie gulches

for water to stave the thirst, for mud

to staunch the bullet hole.

Two days galloping, a storm gallop,

but my pinto has closed on him.

He smells the pony, hears the spur jangle.

My guts drag. I can’t stop

the bleeding.

With my good hoof I X this spot.

Myself I measure

by heart.

I must remain

still, unheeding.

When the cowboy

comes for me

I will gore him

in the throat.

The horn will leave

his neck and pierce his ear. Rootstalk leaf-bug icon marking the end of the article's text.

Photo courtesy of Jon Andelson

Photo courtesy of Jon Andelson

About Author Mike Lewis-Beck
Portrait image of author Mike Lewis-Beck.
Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis-Beck
Mike Lewis-Beck, a PhD from the University of Michigan, writes and works in Iowa City. He has pieces in Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Pilgrimage, Iowa Review, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. His short story, ‘Delivery in Göteborg,’ received a Finalist prize from Chariton Review, 2015. His essay, ‘My Cherry Orchard in Iowa,’ received recognition as one of the ‘Notable Essays’ in Best American Essays of 2011. His poetry book manuscript, Wry Encounters, was a Finalist for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award for 2016.