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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 115 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.


like autumn before it suspects death 
	like snows before they conceive of shrouds 
		woven to line the casket 

that down time between time 
	when chlorophyll gives up the ghost 
		leaves know not the tug of the law 
			of mourning 
				linger yet for red and yellow 

cry me a river-threaded hanky 
	paint me a last lost horizon 
		waltz me in and out 
			of love 

that nothing taste of sky that 
	empty caress of air as I drive away 
		from me 

pondering absence 
	will I recognize selfless 
		if I reach it 

sing me a thirsty song 
	that drought time between time 
			rushing nowhere 

	oh look 
the sun sets colorless 
		not even ozone 
			knows my name 

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is the author of Pulp (Finishing Line Press, 2022); The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions in response to the art of Steven Schroeder (Turning Plow Press, 2020); and At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018).

His work has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and has appeared or is forthcoming in: Chiron Review; The Ekphrastic Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; Midwest Quarterly; MockingHeart Review; October Hill Magazine; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Sheila-Na-Gig online; Shot Glass; Suisun Valley Review; Synkroniciti; Thorny Locust; Waco WordFest Anthology 2022; and the Wichita Broadside Project.

A native Kansan, Dean studied music composition with Dr. Walter Mays at Wichita State University before going on the road as a bass player, conductor, and arranger; he was a professional musician for 30 years, playing with acts such as Jesse Lopez, Bo Didley, Frank Sinatra Jr., Vic Damone, Jim Stafford, Kenny Rankin, B. W. Stevenson, and the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. He put in a stint with the house band at the Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room in Dallas. While living in Dallas, he also worked 20 years for The Dallas Morning News and made the transition from music to writing before moving back to Kansas in 2007.

Dean is a member of The Writers Place and the Kansas Authors Club. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, midway between the Air Capital of the World and the Flint Hills, and enjoys chess, backgammon, and film noir.

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