4 poems, by ALEATHIA DREHMER

cracked roads and empty skies

I’m barely awake after dreams
of hauling fugitives in a semi-truck
I don’t know how to drive.
You tell me in your dream
I was driving too,
only drunk, and we
barely made it.

You read me poems aloud
from the submission box.
I pretended to be asleep
for most of them…all lackluster
in their imagery and full of dull
words save one about cracked roads
and empty skies.

The day is laced with movement already
and I’ve no energy to meet it.
Your excitement is deep enough
for the both of us.


i’ll lose it all in the end

I wake up in a sweat,
stumble to the kitchen
where it’s cold;
my skin raises in shivers
and take my pill.

My daughter hears me
and exits the cave of her room.
She noisily takes down a cereal bowl
and asks if I’ve slept well.
I report I’m not done sleeping.

I strip down and crawl back
under the covers to dream again
only to think of last night’s zombie apocalypse
and how the next season might go
with relationships damaged.

I remember it’s my mother’s birthday
and regret for a moment that I don’t call
her more despite how she controls my life at a distance.
I’d miss her if she weren’t there
to talk to if I got around to it.

And then there is my father,
absent from everything but a handful of years
and our silence hurts the deepest
almost as much if he never was known to me.
My pride is at fault in every instance of this morning.

I should have had breakfast with my child, made her more important
than sleep or this poem
but it’s too late now that the video
screen has captured her.


the wisdom of Johnny Cash

Lying in bed
with you standing beside,
the small fan chilling your bare arms
as you tell me 25 things
most don’t know about Johnny Cash.

Five whiskeys in
you can’t remember most of
them either except the one about how
he painted his elevator after June died
and the fact that he never wanted
to be labeled as anything other
than a Christian when it came down to it.

We talked for hours
about religion and faith. About how
important it is to believe in something but in reality
so many have too much pride to believe in anything.
We shared some silence around the understanding
that we weave in and out of a shared circle—sometimes very alone
in our journeys, but still together.

Later in the hall, with the house clattering in silence,
the smell of your skin and the strength
of your arms made perfect sense.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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