Richard Stuecker is a poet and writer who graduated from Duke University in 1970. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he holds an MFA from the Bluegrass Writer’s Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Birminghan Arts, Cabrillo, Courtship of the Winds, Tipton Poetry Review, Tilde, Former People, Pegasus, Main Street Rag, Otherwise Engaged, Poetica Review, Red Coyote and District Lit; his creative nonfiction has been published in Hippocampus, Connotation Press, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Crambo, Louisville Magazine, Fleas on the Dog and Delmarva Review. Additionally, his book reviews have appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal and a collection of essays on conscious aging, Vibrant Emeritus, was published in 2014 by John Hunt Publishing (London). A chapbook of poems will be published by Kelsay Press in 2020
A Single Rose Unfurls
A single rose unfurls,
the first this spring, harbinger of a sudden
explosion of blossoms after a warm winter
unable to kill the herbs we snip
into our soups and salads,
eaten on the deck within a garden
I built to recover from a sickness
that nearly took me.
During our evening walks,
neighbors whose names we barely know
burst from their homes
sudden as an iris in full flag,
shouting greetings and waving
to us as though we were emerging
celebrities, taking a victory lap.
For so long we only passed fellow dwellers
in this bungalow village in cars,
waving to thank us for letting them
go first, on our way out to the city,
to theaters now dark, restaurants now offering
curbside pickup only, parking lots
then filled with anxious cars vying
for up close parking.
On our evening walks,
I rediscover where I live,
whom I live among and find as well
a commonality I had forgotten, once
suspicious about who votes for whom, why,
and who might be carriers of some dread.
Now the dread is here full blown.
Along the way azaleas riot under
tulip poplars and blooming cherries, we
walk until the first star of evening
appears in a sky fading into icy darkness,
revealing tonight a starry constellation.