Richard Holinger

Places of Seed

Leafless April limbs tangle a Lenten Moon.
No curtains in this house have filtered out
at 3:00 AM an ivory glare I might mistake
for morning. In such light, knights have rescued
maidens shackled to dragons’ toes, and boys in privileged
suburbs—squirt guns loaded, hiding below decks’
trellised, painted walls—play Assassin
As mile-long freights clank past blinking, red-eyed
crossings over tracks straight as 2-by-4s.

Above, flyways push north, wings steered
by hills, rivers, canyons, and stars, driven
by the lust of need to return to places of seed
and renewal, certain and solid as survival
and song, where beaks scream open when worm
or insect dangles against the mesh of wooden skies.


Richard Holinger’s books include the essay collection, Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences, and North of Crivitz, poetry of the Upper Midwest. His work has appeared in Southern Review, Witness, ACM, Ocotillo Review, and Boulevard, and has garnered four Pushcart Prize nominations. Not Everybody’s Nice won the 2012 Split Oak Press Flash Prose Contest, and his Thread essay was designated a Notable in Best American Essays, 2018. Degrees include a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Holinger has taught on the university and secondary school levels, and lives northwest of Chicago.