Friday, July 19, 2024


If you shed some, they seem
ridiculous but dear,
like that paisley garment
you wore long ago. Spill

salt, toss some over
your left shoulder. Express
hope, knock on wood. Avoid
seams between sidewalk
blocks. Lucky underwear,
coin, pen, numbers? Soon

superstitions amass drifts
like snowflakes & your mind
gets stuck, so let a factual
sun melt some away. You'll

feel like you just moved
to a fresh new town. Until
you spill salt on the new table.

hans ostrom 2024

She's Making Changes

So I'm dropping off my weekly
sack of canned food & baby formula
to a food bank when
an older woman pushing
a shopping cart stops to declaim:

"I'm changing my name
and my birthday," she says,
her speech not hampered
much by missing teeth. "Two
years ago on my birthday,
I got hit in the face with a baseball
bat. This year on my birthday,
I got hit by a U-Haul truck."

I want to ask what new name
she's chosen and maybe the fresh
birthday but instead say,
"That's terrible," one of my go-to
expressions of sympathy. She
scowls and says, "I know it's
terrible. You think I'm an idiot?"
"No, ma'am," I say, and scamper
with my bag toward the food bank.

hans ostrom 2024

Carbon-Neutral Dreams

Around midnight, I look outside
and see small solar lamps in the garden
glow. Daytime, the lamps
stuff a little sunlight in their pouches,
which at night they empty.

Soft and unassuming, the light
massages flowers and stones.
Seeing the lamps stirs some hope in me--
not much, but these days even
some is welcome. i stumble

back to bed to sleep and,
like solar lamps, to release soft
neural light into carbon-neutral dreams.

hans ostrom 2024