John Sweet

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to

the frightened child, always

this january sunlight on december snow,
all dim blue sky and frozen clouds,
all washed-out colors like
memory or dream

you are here
despite everything

you are loved but seen only
through dust-streaked windows

distance is the key

i am never close enough to hold or i am
always pushing you away
and we mistake confession for apology

mistake solitude for escape and
the days are all filled with long lists of
gods who would like to see us dead

the air thick with the
memory of gasoline

of cold engines grinding
themselves into dust

such stunted minds,
such crippled dreams

so many hungry saviors
with the heads of crows

only the warmth of burning witches,
but it’s better than no warmth at all


and all day long sunlight and
clouds and the wind without mercy

all day long silence and
the small noises that break it up

that make it matter

and then hills
where they embrace the sky

the empty streets and
abandoned houses and you sit here in
the one you call home with the
curtains drawn

i pound on the door
with broken hands

there need to be better
ways to prove we’re alive


in love then with the teenager you were and
possibly even the woman you’d become

afraid of the future or
maybe just unprepared

maybe just unaware that all of the
promised choices were lies,
that all options could be whittle down to
but i remember your beauty

i remember the heat of the sun

it was enough to bring me
to this moment without regret


John Sweet is an educator, historian, and outdoorsman whose poetry has been published frequently and widely in journals including Underground Voices, Strange Horizons, and New Aesthetic. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2014 Lummox Award, and lives in rural upstate New York.