Eric Schwerer | Cruel Folklore

Cruel Folklore: Poems by Eric Schwerer. Number 13 in the Keystone Chapbook Series, selected by Deirdre O’Connor.

Release date: May 1, 2016 [100 copies]
35 pages
ISBN: 978-1-949333-16-9

Schwerer_Cruel Folklore_webCover photo by Jacob Koestler; used by permission:

After working as a carpenter, Eric Schwerer earned a PhD from Ohio University. He teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. He also facilitates writing workshops for teenagers at risk as well as adults recovering from addiction and has led service learning experiences in Tanzania, Ecuador, and central Appalachia. He is the author of two other books of poetry, The Saint of Withdrawal and Whittling Lessons


Here every evening a woman
strides into her backyard calling 
her rabbit which raises an ear when she sings:
Peppermint’s eyes’re red, His fur’s so white, Oh
where’s Peppermint gone tonight? When she sees him 
she relaxes and lingers in twilight 
as fireflies make brief green slashes  
and blacktop ticks with the heat 
it’s digested all day. Then in her grass 
while the light collapses I watch her daydream  
a portion of the dusk away. I mean 
I imagine she daydreams as through my screen
I watch her stride about shoeless, her rabbit 
nibbling the lawn going grey. In a clean blouse,  
fresh from a shower, night coming on,  
she might think of marriage. The lace curtains  
in the windows of her house are drawn.  
In my own still air and losing light  
I stare at her, her curtains, her rabbit’s white hair.
Downstairs at the sink in my darkening kitchen  
a glass of iced water is crying a ring— 
Has he hopped the gate?  
Left me again? Peppermint, please— 
she continues to sing, though it has not wandered  
and would not ever leave.