Debra Bailey



In the Hour of Death


On Pluto
two geese lie on
the ground, red faces formed
by wind and snow
obligated by the heart
like a brown study
or a girl thrown from a horse.

We hold
the elbows of the mothers
as they stumble toward
the graves and hear the poem
of Theodore Roethke, the goose’s
cry, “Alas.”

All poems
in the world, all the death ones – slip
and slide down the mountains.
Burial colors of black and brown pain
press in, now the colors of our terrain.

A half-heart
has shed its brown. We look for sparse green
shadings in a sideways glance.
It can’t stay.
Only the black remains.
It is the hour of death in this clock-stopped day.






Debra Bailey, M.A. in English from Northwestern University, is a retired English teacher who received Honorable Mention for “In the Nursing Home,” in Artisan: a journal of craft, 2003, No. 2, and published the same poem in The Advocate, 2003. Debra also published essays for The Daily Advertiser, Atchafalaya Voices: “Family Connections,” 2005, and received third place for “Vegetable Talk,” Reminiscent Writing Contest, Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library, 2012. Debra also published an essay, “Otto and our Soft Addiction Journey,” in the Bayou Writer’s Anthology, 2014 and two poems in the Swamp Lily Review, Issue 3, No. 1 and Issue 4, No. 1. She is a member of the Renegade Writers in Lafayette, Louisiana and enjoys writing with friends and family.

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