Steve Hellyard Swartz

by Best Poem

And Cold Blood

Something more
Than a story took
Capote to Kansas
… something
More than a story
Kept him there
Keeps us there
…The family of four
The half-opened door
The blood on the wallpaper
The wallpaper sky
The scarred and
Sacred scent of the nearby Arkansas
The rich loam of a late Kansas fall
The ink on our hands from other times
The whiff of broken crayons
The scuffed soles of shoes our father wore
The feel of a warm hand in ours
The hair we patted and patted, the dirty hair of a child
The sweet and dirty smell of everything in that house dead
Everything in that house unborn
The string in the back of the doll
That we pulled and got our hand slapped for pulling
The memory of a place we’ve never seen
The umpteen times we hid in the shadows in
The place of our birth
The good dark earth
The dark hood we hid under
To avoid being killed
To avoid killing
The funny gait that beguiles,
The witches of our past
The family of four laid out on the floor
The funny creek that runs towards the place where we were born
The half-opened door

Steve Hellyard Swartz is a poet, filmmaker, and teacher. In 1990, his film “Never Leave Nevada,” opened at the U.S. Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. His poems have been published in The Kennesaw Review,, switched-on guttenberg, Haggard and Halloo and In 2007, he won an Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards.