Two Poems • Dana Yost

Last Pennies

We should throw our last
into Amtrak tickets to the
as far as we can pay for,
wherever that is, and make new
and live in our own humor and
and when you get old and scared
I will hold you and tell you stories
about people we don’t know
who all died after happy
to lives we didn’t live,
and tell you we had a happy
too, in a happy life,
this new life built far from
and gossip, a life built for
like a tandem bike, with
comfortable seats
and an easy glide.
The moon will belong to us,
and the elk and the hawk,
and the horned owls in trees
will be in another life,
where the river is someone else’s
but we won’t mind, as we
slip into dreams under a
borrowed from your grandmother,
flavored with the sadness of
Chinese poets
who watched dynasties end
with ships sailing to the East,
while they, exiled and
made homes in perches of hard
above the steam.

A Day Like This

My brother
died on a day like this.
I say this
over coffee to a friend when it rains.
I say it to my
neighbor when I’m weeding the garden
with sunlight
making me sweat on a Monday afternoon.
I say it when
a snowstorm shuts down highways and schools,
say it then in
the office where I am stranded for another long day.
A day like
It may have
been past midnight, both of us numbed by too many years
and old
Or just before
sunrise, a fuck-you because we’d both overslept, bosses calling.
Or the Sunday
of a holiday weekend, sunlit, blue-skied.
I have lost
He died saying
last words and he died angry,
and I will do
the same some day,
my anger the
same as his, although my words will be my own.
I watched him
die, though,
and he’ll not
see me do it.
That’s the
difference. I watched him,
shouting, grinding gravel with his work boots
walking away.
I poured
coffee. Pulled open the blade on the Ozark knife. Snapped it back.
There were no
phone calls, nor knocks at the door.
The day
drifted into silence, until it became a week, a year
until time
became meaningless
until every
day sounded, looked, smelled like every day.
The dog
breathed at my feet. I drank my coffee.
All the same.
A day like


Dana was a daily newspaper editor and reporter for 29 years. He's published two books, most recently Grace, a collection of new poems, and last December's The Right Place, a collection of essays and poems. His poetry also has been published in Wolf Head Quarterly, Relief, Awakenings Review, Stone's Throw Magazine, South Dakota Magazine, Turtle Quarterly, Time of Singing, Open Minds Quarterly, and on Minnesota Public Radio's website.