Two Poems

by Mike Lewis-Beck

  • Poetry
decorative header image from Volume V Issue 2 · Spring 2019

June’s Coming

When June comes—you know—

the clover knows June,

rolling out yards of white for her.

Soon though the mulberries make a mess

of the summer sidewalk, birds’ magenta stain all over.

Drifters on broken bikes pedal the cinder alleys

past dying lilacs—rummaging,

balancing black bags of tin cans

while on a back stoop flashes a galvanized

aluminum tub full of top soil,

tiny leaves coming, going green,

radishes maybe.

Dead Courthouse Museums

Every heartland courthouse, dying or not,

has a dead museum

in a closet, an ancient display case,

a neglected corner where—gathered together

to preserve the ghosts—a rag-tag collection

huddles—stuffed owls, arrow-heads, lamp-lighters,

hand cartography, yellow-leathered books,

bone-knob canes, army medals

& jars with tonsil-like objects in solution.

Artifacts of the county history

no one knows, no one knows what to do with.

No money for a curator, hardly money

for the lights and floor polish of the grand building itself.

But these objets perdus cannot be thrown out,

they are sacred in some way, not sure what.

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About Author Mike Lewis-Beck
Portrait image of author Mike Lewis-Beck.
Photo courtesy of Mike Lewis-Beck
Mike Lewis-Beck writes and works in Iowa City. He has pieces in Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Pure Slush, Pilgrimage, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, Writers’ Café and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. He had poems in volume IV, Issue 1 of Rootstalk, and his short story, “Delivery in Göteborg,” received a Finalist prize from Chariton Review in 2015. His essay, “My Cherry Orchard in Iowa,” received recognition as one of the ‘Notable Essays’ in Best American Essays of 2011. He has a chapbook, Rural Routes, forthcoming.