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How were we to know? by Daniel Von der Embse

A small, scented patch of paper
is all that remains of the time
we lived together above the all-night barbershop
on Claremont Ave.

You made me ox-tail soup and took care of my cat, even when your heart
was in too many pieces to get out of bed.

I think of sitting next to you asking,
is there anything I can do to make you feel better?

You take my hand and say
you feel better already because
I am there watching you sleep.

So many years have gone by
I am still sitting here – waiting –
although your eyes are no longer open to my voice.

The lives we had now have passed on
to some other characters unwittingly
bound to recreate what was once ours.

On paper, the words you wrote remind me how much of life is left to chance,
and how little we know, even after it’s done.


about the author:

Daniel Von der Embse was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio, and graduated from Ashland University with a B.A. degree in Theatre. He began writing poetry after a career as an awardwinning copywriter for advertising agencies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.His poems appear The Missing Slate, Penny Ante Feud, Harpoon Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Poetry Quarterly.


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