Green Hills Literary Lantern



Hands Out


With their shopping carts, baby carriages,

bags of belongings, they come

to the Galuska Pennypacker Memorial.

When a truck comes, they gather

in a broken line for a meal.

Sycamore leaves grumble as passersby

on the sidewalk avoid their eyes.


Clarence accepts his food and leans

against the bronze statue.

His blood-grained eyes stare

as if a mist smears his vision.


After finishing, Clarence points

to my cigarette. I give him one.

He lights the Marlboro, looks

at the ground and mumbles,                              

“The devil is in the bottle

And I can’t get rid of the devil.”

He turns his head and cracks again, 

“The devil is in the bottle

And I can’t get rid of the devil.”




Sweet Spot


Evening waits at the supper table.

Pop’s in his recliner holding

The Evening Bulletin. Mom’s

in the kitchen stirring pots (probably

chicken soup).


You’re on the field waiting the pitch

when all the boys were ball players

when the sweet spot of dreams

  the home run. You’re at the plate.

Ball on the way. The crack of the bat.

You look up; your hands feel mighty.

The ball sails over the sycamores.

As you cross home plate,

team mates slap your shoulders


The church bells. Six o’clock.

Your mother’s voice calls through

the wind of Fairmount. You go home.

The ball keeps rising. You spread

the news at the kitchen table with

your soup and grilled cheese sandwich.


After the spelling words and math,

Wyatt Earp, and dish of ice cream,

you go upstairs. The black and white

springer spaniel follows you.

On the bureau by the window,

the aquarium sings like the sea.

You lay your head across your pillow

and swing into the stars.






Peter Krok is the Humanities director of the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center in Philadelphia where he has been coordinating literary programs since 1990. He is also the editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal (SVJ) which was founded in 1990 and the editor of the SVJ Online at His poem, “10 PM At a Philadelphia Recreation Center,” was included in Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania. He is much-published and known as the “red brick poet” because of his connection with the city. His book, Looking For An Eye, was published by Foothills Press in 2008.