Less Hope, More Alternatives 

Steven Ostrowski

It stayed humid so long.
They missed the days of ice.
She said the starlings
looked drugged and baffled.

You’re going through something,
he said. She said, how observant.
He let a lot of her snark go
for the sake of their sanity.

At night, a little tipsy
on the hillside, he could see
stars moving out of the universe
like disgruntled neighbors.

When dawn came with fog,
the dog whined and chased his tail.
She asked him to get him to stop.
That dog knows too much, she said.

Some of the fog got into the living room.
He was afraid she would think it was her father.
He was afraid the dis-formed particles
of her past might re-form, haunt her again.

Oh, that day was a glacier of sadness.
Sentences fell out of her mouth and died.
The coffee tasted greasy, like cod liver oil.
All the songs on the radio were lies.

Steven Ostrowski is a poet, fiction writer, painter and teacher. His work appears widely in literary journals, magazines and anthologies. He is the recent winner of the 2021 Wolfson Chapbook Prize for his manuscript, ‘Persons of Interest.’ He’s also the author of five previously published chapbooks–four of poems and one of stories. He and his son Ben are authors of a full-length collaboration called ‘Penultimate Human Constellation,’ published in 2018 by Tolsun Books. His first novel, “The Highway of Spirit and Bone,” is forthcoming from Lenora Books. Steven is a Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021