person J.J. Steinfeld, one poem

Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld is the author of eighteen books, including Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press, 2003), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2009), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2014), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2015), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions, 2016), and Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions, 2017). His short stories and poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals internationally, and over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States. A new poetry collection, A Visit to the Kafka Café, is forthcoming from Ekstasis Editions.


A Poem About a Man Neither Tall Nor Small

The man, neither tall nor small,
was walking home
from a long day at work
a job that made as much sense
as walking backwards into the night
but he had two decades of showing up
and walking home
the walking home was the best part
because he saw what passed for beauty
and this time composed almost a full poem
a slight song to be repeated with homeward steps
usually nothing more than a few lines
nothing memorable nor forgettable
just the need for justification and verification
the metaphoric paperwork of existence
but then he heard the most vile
mean, miserable insults
and he looked around
seeing no one and nothing out of the ordinary
still, the insulting continued
and he yelled for the insults to stop.

An hour later, as if by design,
his body was found by a young woman
who called the police on her cellphone
then, tearful and dismayed, hurried home
and wrote a poem
about a man,
neither tall nor small,
with an expression of sadness
devouring his face.


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