Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015

[Two Tributes]

by Lynda Riese

His First Day in Heaven

In memoriam Steve Kowit

He refuses to wear the white robe
so carefully measured to fit;

insists on his frayed flannel shirt
and worn jeans torn at the crotch

held up by well-loved suspenders.
He demurs when they offer him wings,

choosing his own two feet;
declines to join the celestial choir

preferring  political rants, and good jokes,
his laughter so loud and lusty

that heaven’s ethereal ceiling falls in,
waking the dead. 

They sit at his feet beguiled, 
he in his favorite overstuffed chair,

short legs crossed right over left
as he wished,  

lively eyes blue as spring lupine,
his mouth blooming poems.



Like Wings

In memoriam Steve Kowit

What shall I do with this poem,
damp as a newborn,

now that you’ve left us? 
It’s lonely on the page,

so small, lost 
in a sea of blank space

where you had been.
Its lines quiver, 

flutter like wings
and fly off to find you

where you sit in a far field
under a shady oak.

They land in your lap,
on your shoulders, 
you, St. Francis of words.


SHJ Issue 12
Spring 2015

Lynda Riese

A Southern California native, Lynda Riese lives in San Diego with her husband of 30 years and her two rescue dogs. She began to write seriously twenty years ago and has poems published in Calyx, Onthebus, Poet Lore, and other small press literary magazines in print and on the net.

She also enjoys writing prose, and has an almost-finished novel in stories gathering dust in her desk drawer. When she’s not writing or taking endless photographs of her dogs, she works as an antique dealer specializing in vintage and Victorian jewelry.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury