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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 120 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.


winged murder roosts on power lines 
failed reentry curdles sky 
beyond my windshield 
squall brewing 

stalled out in memory traffic 
forbidden planet provisions 
nestle in the back seat 

homing for the place 
least welcome 

ghost in the rear view 
your perfume 

down goes my window 
but the crows are silent 
pensive rain 

the death of us is mine to solve 
epithelial embers 
mine to stir 

green light 
clouds keep pace 
murder flies ahead 

though moving I have no sense of it 
little by little trajectory decays it seems 

how many orbits 
till we are a cold case 
tagged and bagged and heading nowhere 

no regrets 
mouth our caresses 
heat shield burning 

though I would reenter 
if I could 

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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