Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

[Two Poems]

by Deborah Bayer

Rising Incense

Full sunlight can blind.
I prefer the subdued
brightness of Diebenkorn’s

Ocean Park 117.
The yellow on the bottom
is a ground and a base.

It works: black and gray
float on top, oil and smoke
broken up by the frames

of a skylight. Ochre
and lavender are equal
in sweetness. The light

in my bedroom speckles
and dazzles as the wind
moves the leaves

with a shimmering sound.
Ceiling fan is a Buddhist
prayer wheel, as it drones

its mantra to the heavens,
rhythmically, anapests—
ah ah unh, ah ah unh



Story for My Sister

The moon sits on the left shoulder
of Cristo Redentor. At least,
that’s the way it seems to you
from your gutter in Rio.
You lay down here
to cool off in the fire
hydrant spray, one of the best
hangover remedies. This time,
the white marble Redeemer lends
his healing to the water. You loop
your red scarf around the lamp post,
pull yourself up, happy ever after.

That’s the end of your story,
which began on the dark side
of the moon, once upon a time
in a deep pit of tar, lined with bones
of wolves that roamed the airless surface.
Moonbirds pecked at their eyes. 
You had to feel your way
from there, from the bottom, up
the rungs of the ladder of curb stones,
with no one to guide you. That’s the long,
scary part of the story.


SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

Deborah Bayer

is a full-time physician in Atlantic County, New Jersey who specializes in Infectious Diseases and in Hospice & Palliative Medicine. Her work has appeared in the Schuylkill Valley Journal, Hospital Drive, and Mead: The Magazine of Literature & Libations.

“...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