"Excavation" and "Runaway"


Digging poems out of a 4-foot high stack

of drafts

to try and revive ones

that almost made it,

close but no cigar:

digging down seven years

to my triple bypass

the bloody remnants

of that trip under lights

the doc and other spacemen

and women in blue scrubs, masks

wheeled me into the

cold operating room,

administered the anesthetic;

I woke in the


a death crypt of some kind

it seemed—

in bed with a tube

stuck in my chest,

an iron-curtain ahead

moved back & forth

like fate…

Two nurses told me

get up

out of bed

I said, “I can’t”

one said “yes you can”

they made me stand

and walk

to a chair

in a corner

where I sat

and stared out at

the strange world,

a taste of blood

in my mouth,

and wondering

when my next pill was due.




I ran away from home

seven years old

walked out of the house and

down the road

along cracked and gouged sidewalk

a quarter-mile to the lime kiln

loud waterfall-roar of machinery

white dust in the air and

smoky white buildings,

trucks banging along the highway

over railroad tracks…

I came to a hill where the

road dropped to a dark canyon,

a long channel of shadow

between rows of brown brick blocks—

a German Shepard, chained to a rail

atop a cement landing

barked and slobbered at me

and I got scared,

turned around and

walked back to the

home I had run away from…

Nobody there knew I had been gone.



Wayne F. Burke

Wayne F Burke's poetry, short stories, and non-fiction, has been widely published online and in print. He is the author of eight published full-length poetry collections and one published collection of short stories. He lives in the Green Mountain State, Vermont (USA).


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, May 6, 2019 - 23:00