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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Ekphrastic Poem: 312 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.

What I Remember


all that is solid melts into air, painting by Steven Schroeder

all that is solid melts into air
(oil on canvas, 2018)

Copyrighted © 2018 by Steven Schroeder. All rights reserved.

What I remember is the sun, and how,
in those days, we all lived within

a stone’s throw of it. What I remember
is my mother’s clear-nailed fingers

clacking over the ivories of the
upright piano, and how the notes danced

in the warm green irises of her eyes. What I
remember is my father taking his father’s

handmade board and whittled wood pegs
from the battered cigar box which, nevertheless,

was laden with wondrous treasure,
shuffling dogeared blue cards backed

with winged Cupid riding a bicycle,
and explaining words like cribbage

and his nibs, the difference between
play and show. What I remember

is the Sunday afternoon smell of pot roast
and string beans and scalloped potatoes

coming to a head in the butter-colored
sanctum sanctorum of the kitchen. What

I remember is tiny miles of railroad track
on a big brown board in the basement

and little brother’s ecstatic hand claps
when the train left the rails. What I remember

is catch in the backyard, and how much Dad did
not resemble Catfish Hunter or Blue Moon Odom,

and how the light glinted off his fastball anyway.
What I remember is Miss Buttenhof’s blonde hair,

and how we naughty little Lutheran School boys
never minded staying after hours in fourth grade.

What I remember is rounding the corner of the school
building and running into a new kid, and how,

when we got into our 40s & 50s, we faded out
of each other’s lives. But mostly what I remember

is all the houses we ever lived in, and how they were
all the same house, because they were always our house.

If you look quickly, closely, you can see it now, our house,
just barely in frame, floating across the face of this

one last cigar-box-treasure day, me waving from the porch,
the sun still rising.
Steven Schroeder
Issue 1, January 2020

is a visual artist and poet who was born in Wichita Falls, grew up on the high plains in the Texas Panhandle, and now lives and works in Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. (1982) at the University of Chicago and spent thirty years moonlighting as a philosophy professor at universities in the United States and China. He has been painting for more than 50 years and writing poetry for nearly that long.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Portfolio and additional details

Books and links to scholarly publications

Learning to See Nothing: New and Recent Work on Paper and Canvas by Steven Schroeder; exhibition catalog, Eleanor Hayes Art Gallery (Kinzer Performing Arts Center, Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma; 4 September–18 October 2018)

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 1, January 2020

is the author of the poetry collection At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, November 2018). His second book, The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder, will be released early in 2020. His writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Shot Glass; The Ekphrastic Review; and the Wichita Broadside Project. His work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology award; he was a quarter-finalist in the 2018 Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry; and he read at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival and the Chikaskia Literary Festival in 2018.

Dean has been a professional musician and worked at The Dallas Morning News. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, and serves as Event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music held annually in Wichita.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017).

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem inspired by a 1955 photograph of Dean’s paternal grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Windmill, ekphrastic poem inspired by Dean’s maternal grandfather; published in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This poem is among half-a-dozen of Dean’s ekphrastic works published in KYSO Flash (Issues 11 and 12).

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018).

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