Temporal, Forest Paths & The Fringe. 3 Poems by JD DeHart


Everyone I talk to lately
seems to be mediating on the passage of time.

 It goes so fast, they say. Almost in chorus.

 It’s the greying in all of our hair, or
the effect of being holed up for two years,
twenty-four months that have felt like
a decade of worry and anticipatory grief.

 Of course, we are creatures
that have an inevitable terminus. There
are a variety of words for this truth.

 Crapshoot and shitshow both come to mind.
Funny how scatological such terms are,
indicating how we truly feel about the ultimate

 away and, in some cases, our lodging here.

 I munch another bite of the remnants
of a creature that met its demise to
sustain me for a few more hours.

 I contemplate how the past is not real
anymore, and neither are my speculations
of the future. The body bears the mark of all

 but everything eventually becomes
memory or a vague sense that someone,
even someone much like us,

 used to be here.

Forest Paths

I can still trace
the way our feet fell
where few other feet stood,

 I would walk further
ahead, always drafting in my mind.

 The comic books and adventure
stories I built with each step,
while you, my father, walked

 just behind me, the sound
of our family hunting dog
lapping and sniffing.

 That time when I was younger,
when you threatened to cut
our walk short. I must have
deserved it, but said:

“If I come back without you,
no big deal, but if you come back
without me, you’re in trouble,

 What was I thinking to speak
to you in such a way, but you
and Mom laughed about that
for years, probably still telling
that story whenever you can.

 Did you know I still go back
when life is full to those quiet places,
where I can hear wind
moving through the trees of memory?

It’s true.

 My brain still finds that place
where the forest grows denser,
past the well-trod path,

 rounding curves and bends,
being careful of stray dogs
and spiderwebs, to go to places

 few others go.

 I will always be
a creature of the woods.

The Fringe

So, here I am.
Always on the edges.

 Wondering what word
captures me. Belonging and never

 Maybe I’ve always fit in somewhere
and just haven’t seen it yet.

 A figure from the fringes, do I
love? Of course I do, trying my best to

 hold the affection for neighbors
that I ought to hold for myself (that I work
on holding for myself).

 Yet, always at the edge, somehow,
at the corner of the room, looking in.

 A describer’s heart, an ethnographer’s


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His latest poetry collection, A Five-Year Journey, is available from Dreaming Big Publications.