The Nail

The nail
resists being struck
folding at the impact
is straightened and hit
again buckling
and bending
into its own shape
eventually pounded
and pummeled
deep into the
wood coffin.

— © Rick Baldwin

Forever Burning Fire

Life is a forever
burning fire
from which the
flame of you
flickers; before,
in a flash,
separating and
spiraling into
its own

     — © Rick Baldwin


a wooden line of lovers
like rotting fence posts
each stake more weathered
and hollow than
the previous
until the last
completely broken and
serving no purpose

     — © Rick Baldwin

Jack o’Lantern

When she carved the pumpkin
her hands sunk deep into it
then, as she scooped the flesh,
she thought of the murder–
how the face went soft,
yet wide-eyed and open-mouthed,
the stringy seeds spilling out
onto her dress
as she twisted the knife in;
his body thrusting forward
not expecting the delivery
or that she would fight back,
now a pile of damp pulp
on the old, wood floor was
all that remained to be cleared
before the celebration–
her steady hand putting
flame to the candle,
and placing the toothy head
in front of the house
as a beacon to those who
would come knocking
that night.

     — © Rick Baldwin


Murder at midnight.
Scarlet taillights drape
a bloody sheet over
the Oldsmobile’s
cold, green skin.

Undercover crickets
in the foggy pasture,
like tinnitus in
the night’s ear.

Haggard men hoarding
hate like rare coins,
break for gasoline
then churn up
dust from bald tires.

Tomorrow at the bank,
the agency, the classroom,
the factory, the church
and the precinct
they will call
Jesus a friend.

— © Rick Baldwin