Sue De Kelver is currently treasurer of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She received the Wisconsin Regional Writers Jade Ring for poetry in 1994 and won the Byline Literary Award for poetry in 1990. She has received other awards of distinction, and does numerous readings throughout Wisconsin.




On Leaving Home, for Bethie 4-10-92

You sleep in a Parisian hotel
snug in the arms of Mickey Mouse
giddy with the magic of a new-born kingdom
eager to strut and play, inhaling Disney wonder.

I sit, listening to this April blizzard
wondering as it rumbles and flashes
if the daffodils will survive;
did you pack enough socks;
will I learn to let go?

I cannot explain these natural phenomena;
snowfall and thunder, you half a world from me.
I cannot imagine my days without your music
my nights without your smile

I only know you brighten every landscape.
You are as rare and remarkable
as lightening in the snow.


Previously published in the Wisconsin Poets Calendar 1995. Copyright © by Sue De Kelver




Deer Killing

A disease more ancient than syphilis
born from a similar urge
to survive turned sport-
rutting season attacks Wisconsin.

Blaze orange perches in tree tops
belches into a deck of cards
boozes to a macho frenzy.
Kill.     Kill.     Kill.

Fill that overcrowded freezer.
Mount that decapitated beast.
Grind those entrails into Christmas
sausage and as you drag

gutted Bambi by the rope around his neck
through the spear infested forest, rehearse
your epic tale of slaughter. Steel yourself
for the triumphant, stiff legged toss

that bloody thump of velvet
onto your barbarian trunk.


Previously published in The Cape Rock, Southeast Missouri State Universityís literary journal.
Copyright © by Sue De Kelver




Eat Your Heart Out, Thomas

because sometime you can go back ... to Elsmere, KY
to visit your cousins and to introduce your kids to
cornfields and heifers and the Foltz Brotherís Dairy
where they still bottle milk in glass gallon jugs.
And you can stop at the Bakery you used to pass
every morning on your way to Saint Henryís
And they still have your all-time favorite

oval, braided sweet rolls with the soft, cinnamon
crumbles and the gooey, powder-sugar icing.
And they will still wrap one in a small white bag.
And you can carry it out with the same ceremony.
And even if your family finds you foolish
you can sit down at your Aunt Mary Ellenís
grey formica table and the memory will pour back
as fresh as the Foltz Brotherís milk

foaming in the glass before you and then...
you are settling into your second grade desk
with its worn wooden top and its scrolled iron legs
after Mass on First Friday and Sister Dorothy is saying
"All right, class. You may eat your breakfast now"
And your white bag crackles as you dig for your treasure
And a precious crumb fall onto your navy pleated uniform
And you oh-so-carefully lift it to your mouth

so as not to have it disintegrate
And then - oh glorious then - you sink
your teeth into the soft, sweet confection.
And as your saddled-shoed feet tap out
a giddy syncopation to the joyous
symphony playing through your mouth
then my dear Thomas, you are seven again
And in heaven.


Copyright © by Sue De Kelver



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