By Daniel Ruefman    Another Home PoemAre homes places to which we cling
longer than we should,
as if we are paint chips flaking
from the doorjambs,
or foam insulation bleeding
through the seams of splintered siding.Or are they places we wish to grow
but perhaps shouldn’t,
as though we were crab grass,
baked and brittle on the stone and dust
of a gravel drive, lacking the depth
needed for our roots to take hold?Or are they just these guarded places
where we linger, inviting people by,
saying “come in, show me yours,
and I’ll show you mine?”Mine home is here, in this yard,
the one where impossibly muscled pitbulls
drag towing chains across deep ruts
carved in their crescent runs,
and my truest friends will stand at the gate,
and without opening it say
I see you and I understand,
careful never to come too close.    
ArthurThere is little that I remember of my grandfather
but the fishing on Lake Erie.
Even now, I see his silhouette perched
atop an upturned five-gallon bucket
on the concrete pier at Presque Isle,
in the shadow of the small lighthouse there;For bait, I think he preferred salmon eggs to worms,
as there was always a small jar in his tacklebox,
tiny ruby orbs suspended in brine,
so much like Lilliputian maraschino cherries,
that I once plucked one from the jar,
placed it on my tongue—and I never did that again.I think he must have worn a lot of hats
with the brim pulled low over his eyes,
perhaps to shade the light as he napped,
or maybe it was just to hide the whisper
of his chemo-thin hair, after he began
the too-late treatments for the Lymphoma
that metastasized, just as his retirement
was coming on;Dad blames the postwar paint shop,
the toxic fumes he huffed
since his honorable discharge
from the Army Air Corps
where he trained soldiers stateside
to find Nazi targets for the B2 Bombers.I can see his shape, skeletal thin,
his taut suspenders heaving up slack slacks,
his firm grip on the hilt of his rod
a patient patient, waiting for a fish
to rise.I try to recall my grandfather’s face then,
But it eludes me,
so I call up the sepia photograph
of the cocksure corporal hugging to him
a nurse with the eyes of my grandmother;
it is all I have of his face,
and I must be content with that.  
     Deserted CityThe doors to LORD
are closed now;
the library,
where my aunt worked
was dismantled, shipped
south to another state,
its bones here reduced
to red-bricked rubble
tucked into piles
behind chain-link
and razor wire.Across town
the mills rot in the sun
along the new Bayfront connection;
corroded sheet-metal eaves
crumble under their own weight
just visible over the stamped concrete walls,
waiting for gravity to bring them downThe oily stink of new blacktop
hangs off State Street
where rusted-out,
over-priced cars
replaced the Koehler Brewery,
two-blocks away
from the site
of another bankruptcy auction
at Lovell Manufacturing.Just outside the city proper,
GE Transportation abandoned
the borough that it built,
back when barbers were doctors,
bleeding their patrons,
venting veins as it sought equilibrium,
hoping to remedy an imbalance in bodies
that never existed.
   Tears of JohannesburgClouds grieve over Johannesburg.
Their underbellies slit
by the needle top of Hillbrow tower
until the streets surge.
In the alleys on higher ground,
good Samaritans pick their battles,
choosing which woman’s screams to answer
and after how long.In the pubs, voices chant
You can’t save them all
while a government worker
speaks of the need for condoms
in a city where bruises bloom
on cheeks of wives
and sisters
and daughters
without any apparent cause
without any sign of ceasing.In contrast, there are just 100 days
left in the dams in Cape Town,
where fields crack between rows of signs
from Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta.
At least there is food from last season,
graywater to flush the toilets,
and hope enough for the woman
clinging an infant to herself,
staring up at dispersed contrails
seeing them as potential cloudssomething that could bring
tears from Johannesburg
to fill the western rivers tomorrow.    About the Author:DanielDaniel Ruefman’s short fiction and poetry has appeared widely in periodicals, including the Barely South Review, Burningword, Clapboard House, DIALOGIST, Gravel Magazine, Red Earth Review, Sheepshead Review, and Temenos, among others. He currently teaches writing at the University of Wisconsin—Stout.