by Dave Nielsen

Time’s Up

To see how beautiful a single rock is,
to put one in one’s yard
by crane, by a team
of workers.
The beginning of time—
set off by a flowerbed!
Look at the children next to it,
little flashes of light.
And the sun and the moon,
the rock’s brothers.
How wonderful!
To see how magnificent a pebble is,
a little fleck of gravel.
To hold it on your tongue,
to swallow it—

the beginning of time
deep inside you now,
like a giant stomach ache.


I heard a coyote’s puppy
whimpering in the snow.
I heard a woman sobbing in the kitchen.
I heard the snow melt in June.
I heard the door close behind me.
At night, I heard a rat perched on the window sill
nibbling on a plastic cup.
I heard its teeth click against each other.
I heard dry leaves blowing.
I stuck my head out the door
and heard the wind over bare

Lines on a Very Painful Subject

It isn’t fair,
my life is so boring.
When I was ready to write about anything—

I was ready to write
about anything.
A little plastic cup at my desk

stuffed with pens.
My penmanship superb, excellent, superior.
Notebook ready.

My parents loved me—
loved me too hard, really.

The sound of a vent blowing air
over my head. In ten minutes
I shall leave all—
for lunch, I shall leave it all for lunch:

a tomato sandwich,
some grapes—

It’s not fair,
my life
is so boring.


Sometimes there is nothing a man can do
in the face of mortgages
and rising interest rates

in the face of the sexual impulse
the national debt

Sometimes a man is overcome
by spelling errors

and he has to make choices
based on instinct
and limited information

and a sentimental longing
for celebrities of his youth

Sometimes there is nothing

If there were you wouldn’t be reading this
Nor would I have ever written it

Big Time

Towards the end they stand and cheer

They clap their hands

They throw their hats in the air

They sit down

Now they are calling for hotdogs

They call and call

They begin screaming at the referee

Pointing and screaming

At the field empty as the sea

Someone bring them

A damn hot dog please!

About the Author:

Dave Nielsen

Dave Nielsen is the author of Unfinished Figures, a collection of poems. His writing has recently appeared in Crab Creek Review, Folio, Forge, and other venues. He is the brother of the famed-poet Shannon Castleton, and the son of the highly esteemed Craig and Jerrie Nielsen. He is married to track star Susan Lee Taylor. The couple currently resides in Salt Lake City, on the East Bench.