Spring 2021, Volume 30

Poetry by Austin Veldman 

After Sleep, Before Work, During Coffee

There is something artistic about how the light
comes in through the kitchen, floorboards turned
golden, defying the shadow. But I don’t tell 
you this. I don’t say anything of what I see, not
yet. These fragments of the world are frivolous
to your deep worry, the night shift under your eyes
like the bags of tea we tried for sleep-aid. You lift 
the coffee to your lips, remembering bloodwork at 9, 
our son still sleeping and needing to eat and be changed,
your missing driver’s license, as if the world 
constantly asks who are you? until it is found, 
until we find a meaning for all of this 
beyond what can be called artistic. What I mean is
sometimes even those who will not betray reason 
want to talk to God, need more than the whisper
of hope that is light coming out of the kitchen.

Night Without Stars

Walking down Colfax, a line
of vehicles wait for the apocalypse

exhaust plumes like last exhales
rising to meet the silent gods

of all our childhoods. I’ve got nothing
to do and it’s killing me. Above, the night

without stars covers all of Indiana
in the same darkness that waits between

galaxies. In the end what will the last
of us think? A back alley says nothing except

to echo some car horn’s lonely three-beep
rhythm from the next street over. Dark spots

where no stars have wandered. And I wonder
who the last person to think of me was

and if it was some sort of romance.




BIO: Austin Veldman is poet, editor, and songwriter from South Bend, Indiana. His poetry has recently appeared in Atlanta Review, Bateau, The Slag Review, Artifact Nouveau, and elsewhere. He is the founding editor of Twyckenham Notes, an online literary magazine that was the recipient of a 2020 Pushcart and a finalist for a Firecracker Award for Best Debut Magazine. He holds a BA and MA in English from Indiana University South Bend, where he is an Adjunct Professor of English teaching poetry. He works in management at an automotive recycling facility and lives in Northern Indiana with his wife and two sons.