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Portrait of an Afternoon with my Daughter, a poem by Joseph Kerschbaum



do you think aliens exist 

how far away do they live 

can we contact them 

why not 

where do birds go in the winter 

how do they know where to go 

what would happen if they didn’t come back

who was your best friend 

when you were my age 

why don't you know 

where they live now 

do butterflies sleep 

will the world end someday 


why don't you think humans 

will be here to see it 

what did you want to be 

when you grew up

why didn’t you do that 

what is your favorite season 


who turns the street lights on & off 

what happens after we die 

why doesn't anyone know 

can we find out 

when are we getting a zebra

why not

what would a dog say if they could talk 

what is your favorite color 


Joseph Kerschbaum’s most recent publications Mirror Box (Main Street Rag Press, 2020) and Distant Shore of a Split Second (Louisiana Literature Press, 2018). Joseph has been awarded grants from the NEA and the Indiana Arts Commission. His works have appeared in journals such as failbetter, Panoply, Umbrella Factory, The Battered Suitcase, and The Delinquent. Joseph lives in Bloomington, Indiana with his family. You can visit to learn more.