Two Poems by Steven Deutsch


When I finally left the stage
to little more
than polite applause,
I had no strength 

of will
to wipe the makeup off,
nor any desire
to shed the costume 

as dear to me as skin.
In years past,
I’d have moved beyond today
in minutes

and stepped outside
to take a long walk
home—all thoughts
on tomorrow,

sure to be even better.
Plans—I had them.
A million ideas
to sift through my hands

like flour for bread dough.
Where are they now?
I sit and I wait
for the crosstown bus.

Another gargoyle
decorating the bench
just outside
the theater of life.


Mom weighs in
now and again.
I don’t mind.

She’s always been
more helpful than not,
and it’s nice to see

she is using
her dead time.
Just last week, 

she spent an hour
marveling at how old
I’ve become.

And this morning,
she reminded me again
I was always “such a good boy,”

which left me
reliving all the times
I wasn’t.

Have you ever wondered
about the meaning
of the examined life

and when you might
find the time
to practice it? 

Perhaps that’s what Mom
meant to say—
“it’s time.”

Steven Deutsch is poetry editor of Centered Magazine and was the first poet in residence at the Bellefonte Art Museum, helping to create Stanza, a room dedicated to poetry. His Chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press. His full-length books—Persistence of Memory; Going, Going, Gone; and Slipping Away—were published by Kelsay. In 2022, his full-length book, Brooklyn, was awarded the Sinclair Poetry Prize from Evening Street Press. Seven Mountains will be published this summer.