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R-E-S-P-E-C-T, a poem by Dan Carpenter

by Dan Carpenter

Every day the probability grows stronger
that someone I last met trading jumpshots and elbows on grimy blacktop
or kisses on a secondhand sofa in an off-campus dump
is dead now
for it hasn’t been a month or a year
and don’t think I can’t tell what is from what seems

four decades are a boulder
fallen across a mountain highway spiraling down
having this time missed me
but not the entire caravan
it waits
ahead or behind
for me to drive on
work around get out and climb over proceed on foot
backing up being no option

but there’s one other

maybe you know I’ll just sit here in idle
let the ’71 Beetle purr its contentment
light the Marlboro I swore off in ’85
flip on the radio and play it safe
not one
not one beat
will Aretha ever miss

From Dan Carpenter: “I’m a freelance writer in many genres, born and residing in Indianapolis.I have published poems in Flying Island, Poetry East, Illuminations, Pearl, Xavier Review, Southern Indiana Review and other journals. I have published two books of poems, The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove, 2015) and More Than I Could See (Restoration, 2009).”