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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Poem: 139 words
By Steve Deutsch


Right up to the day 
he died 

my brother could 
make me laugh. 

He was 
my Wikipedia. 

But even he could 
not explain 

how my dad—
content more often 

than not—married 
into a family 

of prize-winning grumps. 
He didn’t need to tell me 

that Uncle Arthur’s smile 
was the best way 

to sour pickles 
or that Medusa 

couldn’t hold a candle 
to Aunt Kate’s glare. 

But a more serious 
topic was 

the puzzle of what 
we might expect of life—

sad or happy 
cheerful or dour. 

He said perhaps 
we’d grow to be 

some odd crossed 

a mix of jackass 
and baboon 

which was the funniest 
thing I’d ever heard 

and had me laughing 
so hard 

that he began 
to laugh too. 

Right up to the day 
he died 

I could make 
my brother laugh. 


Steve Deutsch
Issue 14, August 2022

lives in State College, Pennsylvania. He is poetry editor of Centered Magazine, and the author of three books published by Kelsay Press: a chapbook, Perhaps You Can (2019); the full-length Persistence of Memory (September 2020); and Going, Going, Gone (2021).

His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Backchannels, Evening Street Review, Lothlorien, Muddy River Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetica Review, Red Weather, Sangam, Santa Clara Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Sheila-na-gig, Silver Birch, The Drabble, and The Rush. Steve has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Poet, in Eclectica Magazine (Volume 22, Number 2, April/May 2018)

Flotilla, first published in the anthology Weatherings (FutureCycle Press 2015), and later posted on Sarah Russell Poetry (16 June 2018)

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