Two Poems by George Cassidy Payne
Where Deer Sleep
My three-year-old son
wondered where deer sleep
so I walked him there. Stepping
into a realm that is not reserved
for fathers and sons, we found
a ritual that has nothing to do
with us. That altar where a
slumberous sky ascends towards
the apex of the Earth, and
a feeling of trespassing arrives
if not for me than for him. A child
cannot touch the mystery without
stepping into it. Existing together
as they may. Masking the
eyes with all that must
My Griefs Lie
My griefs lie to me like a
Poker player down to their last hand
Or a poacher caught without a license.
They tell me what I want to hear, how it’s
Not my fault, and it will be better next time.
That feeling of losing something priceless.
A gold watch left in a jewelry box, hand carved
By Pap, when he still made things,
Before it happened. It’s not useful to talk about.
That’s the way grief is. Useless, impossible to utter.
Lost in its own self replication.
Tears, too. But the tears shed
The way a drunk dry heaves vodka.
Born and raised in the Adirondack region of upstate New York, George Cassidy Payne is interested in the intersection of poetry, social justice, representations of spirituality and concepts of self. He is a part-time professor of philosophy at the State University of New York (SUNY) and teaches workshops focusing on writing and philosophy. He holds master’s degrees in philosophical theology from Emory University and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Barnstorm Journal, Chronogram Magazine, Adelaide, the Adirondack Almanac, Tea House, The Mindful Word, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, the Scarlet Leaf Review, The Writing Disorder, Califragile, Zingara Poetry Review, Allegro Poetry Review and several others. His debut full-length collection, A Time Before Teachers, was released in 2019 from Cholla Needles Literary Press in Joshua Tree, California. Read Payne’s previous work in Deep South here.