Three Poems by Dick Westheimer

The Word for Darkness is Light

I went out tonight
under the lantern hung stars

took a bucket to collect
the light poured

from their quantum hearts
and drank until

I was tipsy, bewitched
by their hymns,

greedy for more,
of their secrets

which I promised
to keep.

But how can I
not tell

all who will listen
the news:

From here I can see
the dark between

the stars
and it contains

more stars.


The Companionship of Stars

These are the first
clear skies in ninety days.

The stars are impatient
children tugging

at my sleeve.
I tell them

they each
are my favorite

but I must choose
one to let into

the close home
of my scope.

The longer
I stay out

among them,
on the frost

breath of this
late winter night,

the brighter
each seems to shine.

They must know
about waiting well—

each hung like
an old lantern

in the shed waiting
to be lit by me

looking at it.


The Universe and I are Made from Shattered Space and Time

They say that space-time has
more than once, fractured

like a pane of glass,
like a block of ice run through

with cracks, like a wave
come undone on the shore,

and that at each epoch, the universe
has reformed from what remains.

And so the same for me, that I know
of my dying just by tracing my finger

along the seams of my space-time life,
like the line from my first kiss to the last,

from my firstborn child and my last grand,
all the moments I’ve cried so hard that

I shake the world like a temblor,
the hours I lay on my side, you and I

fitting like two spoons, me
saying as I have ten thousand times,

I like lying with you, and of course,
the nights like now that we’re apart.

Each is a small dying, a gift
of being alive, and here’s

the epiphany:
the end will come

when all my fault lines merge
back at their epicenter, when this

grim and shimmering world
is shattered and

out of its fragments,
the next one is formed.


Dick Westheimer has—with his wife and writing companion Debbie—lived in rural southwest Ohio for over 40 years. He is a Rattle poetry prize finalist. His most recent poems have appeared or are upcoming in Whale Road Review, Minyan, Gyroscope Review, The Patterson Review, Rattle, The Banyan Review, Ritual Well, and Cutthroat. His recent chapbook, A Sword in Both Hands, Poems Responding to Russia’s War on Ukraine, is published by Sheila Na Gig Books.

5 thoughts on “Three Poems by Dick Westheimer

  1. Three beautiful poems. The Word for Darkness is Light is stunning. Mystical.

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