Danny Earl Simmons – two poems

Subtracting Forty-Seven
while reading the obituary page, February 23

Mr. Anderson, 93.
Jackson would be 46,
Alisha would be 76.
The grandkids, unborn
now, grown by then,
won’t miss my phlegmy
coughing, my spots, wrinkles,
nursing home smell.
Maybe those grandkids will love
their Nana Isha enough
to mow the lawn, trim
the tall trees we planted
just last year. It says
Mr. Anderson had a smile
when they found him.

Mr. Gibbs, 53.
Jackson would be six,
young enough to love
a different Daddy.
Would he run to the window
smiling and watch him walk in
from work? Would Alisha
join him there? What if
they’re not smiling?
Son of a bitch!
Mr. Gibbs chose cremation.
Mrs. Morgan, 83.
Church deacon, bridge club,
investment club. In lieu of flowers,
donate to the Humane Society.
Jackson would be 36 –
wife, kids, getting along.
The grands still young enough
to love baking cookies with Alisha.
Mrs. Morgan’s husband died
20-years ago.

Mr. Gregg, 63.
My greatest fear.
Jackson would be 16
and hard on Alisha.
Her weeping
would be all for him.
Mr. Gregg ran marathons.

Andrew, 3.
I was wrong
about my greatest fear.


Barely Platonic

They head straight for the highest point,
run up the stairs, floor after floor,

until they reach the top, spin around
on the flat black roof, enjoy the dizzy rush

of height. They hold hands and pull
each other this way, then that. Their eyes

wide open, they take everything in
and laugh at each other’s laughter.

Eventually, things get serious.
Their grip gets tight, they head for the edge.

They look down, look at each other,
leap. The ground closes-in, hearts thump.

Their hands slide apart, fingertips cling,
release. Chutes pop and drag.


Danny Earl Simmons currently resides in Lebanon, Oregon and is a member of the Lebanon Arts Council.. He is also a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club and serves on the school’s Poetry Advisory Committee. His poetry chapbook is entitled The Allness of Everything (Maverick Duck Press, 2016).