Two Poems by D. R. James

Flip Requiem

Only black-and-tan clumps
cling anymore to our oaks
(raking finally making sense),

which stand silent as pickets
this side of winter’s no-longer
fierce or precise approach.

I’m over a father’s death,
an angry mother’s post-mortem
reach (though there it is again),

the delusion that autumn’s demise
warns us of anything. Those fears?
Fading—their threatening hues

mere harmless colors after all.
Instead, a dogwood’s scrawny pecs
spread stripped limbs to greet us

into the new season’s breach,
a wind-scrambled blueprint of
tangled twigs, leaf eddies, and rain.

What’s to come used to command
such aching concentration, demands
collected in the heart. Now, subdued,

it signals no sad story tracking itself
across some dismal arena dressed in
black, elegiac notes—but noodles muted

scales that free the blood and coast us
toward a more cordial space: a flip
requiem, perhaps, for chronic requiems.

Second day of gun season,

and they’ve already bagged
some ninety-odd bucks.
A fine-looking local,
camo hat jaunty
over jostled blond hair,
bolt-action Winchester babied
between olive-green sleeves,
poses on the front page—
got a ten-pointer (if I know
how to count it right). Me,
I’ve just posted warnings,
cancelled all maneuvers,
withheld all furloughs,
mandated all my dears
close ranks at home base
for the duration.

“Flip Requiem” and “Second day of gun season,” were first published in The 3288 Review.

D. R. James’s latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020); his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project; and individual poems have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals. He lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. You can find his collections on

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