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Robert Joe Stout

StoutRobert Joe Stout’s writing has appeared in Subprimal Poetry, The Tishman Review, Third Wednesday and many other magazines and journals. He has received journalism awards for spot news writing and has volumes of poetry currently in print from Future Cycle Press and Aldrich Press.

Fourth Grade

Flaws in the window glass sent glistening
scimitars across Miss Ritter’s clipped
brown hair, then sliced across her cheek.
I imagined Nazi knives slashing prisoners’
faces, bayonets in children’s backs…
as I heard my name pronounced, answered
with a grunt. “Pay attention,” I was warned.
I nodded, peering at the blackboard scratches,
aware that I, now soldier, plunged through fierce
and dangerous small arms fire. Flame throwers.
Hand grenades. Then Miss Ritter’s strident
“Enough disruption! Leave the room!”  I did,
knowing in my heart I’d win my war.


Mist creeping through the avocado leaves
formed briefly leering faces, then dissolved
as I peered past them towards moist roofs,

shivering despite sweatshirt and jacket.
Streetlights congealed, becoming furry globs
that briefly throbbed, a deadening heartbeat

as the pueblo, silent, seemed to sink
into the earth taking all but darkness
with it. Then a slow dividing, mist

above me parting, blurry luminescence,
the wriggly oval of a grinning moon.

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