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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Prose Poem: 316 words
By Guy Biederman

Hang a Lantern on the Carpenter’s Mistake


These are things the dead can teach us: every opportunity to be generous is itself a generous gift; no property or thing has more value than a friend; we all know how this will end & along the way sorrow will have its say. . . .so stay a little longer in the chair for the purr from the cat on your chest, it’s not yet time to rise; don’t sweat the cat hair stuck on your favorite fleece; don’t sweat the cat hair on the coat of the person next to you in line; let go of 10-pound anger, 50-pound grudges, pinches of envy, and bitter types of all dimensions; hang a lantern on the carpenter’s mistake; say hello to all you pass while out for a soggy walk...or a sunny one; get that coat with all the buttons; wear that hat; go for the new haircut and put your fate in the hands of a barber you don’t know; forget it, let it grow; regret is a beast that doesn’t want out, let it have the house, leave no forwarding address; buy all your own books and give each one away; buy all your friends’ books and hear their voices in every line; art is no chapter in your life, it’s your autobiography with a spine; go play on a parallel cloud, give a wave; toss the seagulls a crust, give a shrug to the bread police; uncertainty is temporary, to be beloved is not; to be remembered in a poem is eternity; similes for death are like tomatoes hanging on a winter vine; as the end draws near make a smile be the last thing you see on planet earth; make a smile be the legacy you share; these are the things the dead can teach us, these are the poems they leave behind, with love.

Guy Biederman
Issue 11, January 2022

is the author of five collections of poetry and short prose, including Nova Nights (Nomadic Press, 2021) and Edible Grace (KYSO Flash Press, 2019). His stories have appeared in many journals such as Bull, Carve, Flashback Fiction, great weather for MEDIA, KYSO Flash, Riddled with Arrows, and Exposition Review, where he was twice a Flash 405 winner. His work has recently received a Publisher’s Choice Award and an Editor’s Choice Award, and has been nominated for Best of The Net. His next collection, Translated From The Original: one-inch punch fiction, will be published by Nomadic Press in 2022. Guy lives on a houseboat with his wife and salty cat, drinks black coffee in the afternoon, and walks the planks daily.

Author’s website: https://www.guybiederman.com/

Author’s blog: This Day Afloat: Reflections of Life on the Water

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