Steven Cramer


 It got bad; pretty bad; then not
so bad; very bad; then back to bad.
Jesus, let’s let things not get even worse.

A weird fall.  Nearly ninety
one day, leaf mold making our house
all red eyes and throats.  Don’t think

about Thanksgiving, but hope
for a decent Halloween.  Everywhere
gas-powered leaf-blowers growling—

Christ, let’s let things not get even worse.


First appeared in The New Ohio Review


BIPOLAR by Steven Cramer

 Just after the downpour moves on, and it’s
still a swamp of viridian and emerald
indoors and out; and the central power grid,
iffy at best, still sputters and spits;

 and the citizens, alert, still hunch
by their wavering flames, tensed for the flinch
between each white shock and its thunderclap
(relaxing, a bit, as quiet widens the gap)—

it’s then this German-folktale kind of calm
seeps in:  brown of the briar rose, a bone-
meal wariness, the green tone of once upon
a time, a woodman and his wife wanted children—

 and soon children came.  That’s the time
to pray whoever loves you escaped harm.


From Goodbye to the Orchard (2004)

Steven Cramer is the author of five poetry collections: The Eye that Desires to Look Upward(1987), The World Book (1992), Dialogue for the Left and Right Hand (1997), Goodbye to the Orchard, (2004)—which was named a 2005 Honor Book in Poetry by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and won the Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club—and Clangings (2012).  Recipient of a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Fellowship, he founded and teaches in the low-residency MFA creative writing program at Lesley University.