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"The Old Dreamer," a poem by Gene Kimmet

Updated: May 28, 2020

Illustration by Sarah Hasty Williams

The Old Dreamer

No longer dreams of glass-winged dragonflies

That hawked mosquitos from the summer stream

When he was ten and walked in April’s sun,

No longer dreams the chill of autumn wind

That rustled through November’s dry corn stalks,

The frantic beat of wings, the shotgun’s jolt

When he was seventeen and stalked the fields

To strike the pheasants from a cobalt sky.

Grown anxious now, he dreams of dingy streets,

Walks once again among the pale-faced men

Who fired the roaring furnaces at night

And slept the sun away, now wanders through

The rusted bones of mills to find the bar

And find his father’s ghost still dealing cards,

Still pocketing the change the boy would glean

From the tattered chair where the old man slept.


"The Old Dreamer" is from the collection Shadows by Gene Kimmet (Canopic 2019)

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