Richard Krawiec







By the River


In the Hermitage

the monk speaks

with God; I talk

to myself & the river


watch carp mouth algae

a hummingbird settle

in a treetop; across the water

remnants of a mill,

furred with moss


This world

where words smoke away

the body settles to dust;






Recovering: Bristol, U.K. 2015


I begin to recognize the oblations;

the city gull roostering the morning;

that beige pigeon, beautiful mongrel,

iridescent neck, sand-barred body pierced

by white tail, cooing from the fire escape

outside my window; the way the wind bends

the trees on the hill, allows them to sway back

as if for breath, bends them again, opens their white

underleaves like a lover’s hands ruffling hair askew.

Children squabble and squeal at the playground.

Traffic clears and reclears its phlegmy throat.


I am becoming familiar once more with the sun,

the way it pushes its fingers through the clouds

as they fold and roll over the rows of milk jug chimneys.

How it dives to create gold slides on the hoods and roofs

of cars stuttering through stoplights. It fingers aside

my curtains, beckons me out of bed. I dress,

walk down the stairs, huff to the top of Brandon Hill

wait for the laughter of strangers – this day three girls

and their Mum, walking a juvenile bulldog who rushes

to dive into a boggy pool, paddles around then out,

and trots off, black coat splotched with green

jewels of blanket weed.


I am becoming familiar with my own breath;

deflating release into the cloud-crossed sky,

opening my lungs as I draw it back to me.



First published in Connotation




Devoción Café


The virtue and power of coffee,

a poster preaches, quoting

Paracelsus, alchemist and occultist,

a man, arrogant as a flood,

who wandered itinerant,

treating the sick.


I wait in a nave of walnut

tables and couches sprawled

beneath arching skylights.

A leather banquette underlines

a lush wall of lilies, philodendrons,

and a staghorn fern whose spiky fingers

brush my hair, sharp and delicate,

like a lover’s nails late at night.


The barista pours a Wild Forest,

scent of berries, raw honey.

She wears a duality of hair,

half natural fall, half chosen


The left side,

a tight fade, edged with two

sharp lines, conjures my 70s,

punk rock, Boston, the only place

I ever chose

and felt of as home.

The right side,

loose down-bounce of curls, recall

my mother, when I was a child

in love with her

and she almost made me feel

I belonged.


Women talk over yellow melamine mugs,

Silent men hover close to screens.

Paracelsus believed the cause

of disease was

a mere opinion…


assumed by imagination.


Like this, I suppose.


The bald woman dressed in black

fingers handbags woven in Colombia.

A photograph spotlit by the sun,

shows two hands holding dark beans

as if offering the dove of God.


Here, in this secular Devoción,

surrounded by strangers,

I feel the possibility of chanting,

swinging censers, rising smoke.














Richard Krawiec‘s third book of poetry, Women Who Loved Me Despite, will be published in a revised addition by Sable Books as part of their RE series to keep quality works of poetry in print.  His work appears in dozens of literary magazines, including New Orleans Review, Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Dublin Review, Connotations, Chautauqua Literary Journal, etc.   In addition to poetry, he has published 2 novels, Time Sharing and Faith in What? a story collection, And Fools of God, and 4 plays.  He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NC Arts Council (twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His new novel, Vulnerables, will be published by Tusitala Press in Paris this fall. He is founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active publishing company ( that also runs an online magazine One (


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