Sunset Stripped by D.R. James

An orange sun descends like a slow-mo yo-yo
toward where this Great Lake’s turned purple.

I’d wanted it to sing back-up to a love song
but as it dripped from its last slip of cloud

like a tear from a bloody lid I knew
meager romance was doomed. Nature—

her two-faced refrain: one moment
a hawk, of all things, startles, wings

across your wondrous path and the next
you’re can-canning around the carcass

she was deconstructing. And as wave after
unwavering wave unwinds its white loop of soothe

the grinding motion’s undermining the stilts
you snooze on. Snide circle of life, something

about the conservation of all energy that
enervates the grand delusion. Just as well:

reality’s better, if bitter. Buttering you up
with how no two sunsets… just leaves you

greasy. It’s data: the more molecules, the more
oranges, yellows, and reds. Especially the reds—

their longest wavelengths, their blossoms
like gruesome wounds, their crimson dreams

aboard the steady surf that sings me to sleep.


*first published in If god were gentle (Dos Madres, 2017)
Photo by Samuel Theo Manat Silitonga on

About the Poet:

D. R. James’s latest of nine collections are Flip Requiem (Dos Madres, 2020), Surreal Expulsion (Poetry Box, 2019), and If god were gentle (Dos Madres, 2017), and his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project. He lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan.

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