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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Poem: 145 words
By Marcus Elman


Against the wall with his walker, 
he’s hovering like he’s battery operated. 

I stay with him until his helper comes along. 
“It’s a dead-end, Mickey,” she says. 

He lingers and I hold his arm, 
notice the welts on his head. 

Twice last night he fell; 
can’t get up on his own anymore, 

wants to walk his pattern, 
a diagram out of the labyrinth—

keeps his heart going—
it’s for Shirley; he promised her. 

Now he’s going first 
and she knows it too somehow. 

Crawling through her dementia, 
through the peephole in her brain, 

she squeezes his hand, 
looks him in the eye, 

through the pupil, through the iris, 
through the drugs, and pours 

her ache down his genius 
all the way to wit’s end. 

“Mickey,” she says, “take the short cut, not the dead end; 
the short cut, Mickey, then come and get me.” 

Marcus Elman
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is a yoga and fitness therapist working mostly with the elder-sage population in Southern California. He is curious about energy, how things work and get repaired, and the idea of redemption. His poem “The Boulevards of Los Angeles” received an honorable mention in Beyond Baroque’s 2017 annual poetry prize and was published in the textbook Method & Mystery: A Research-Based Guide to Teaching Poetry (The Poetry Salon, 2019). “The Crossing” was shortlisted for the Into The Void Poetry Prize 2020. His poems have been published in Cultural Daily [see links below], and in three volumes of Sunbeams: The Joan Ramseyer Memorial Poetry Anthology (2018, 2019, and 2020). He is a graduate of American River College, UC Davis, and Pepperdine.

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