Green Hills Literary Lantern


Yellow Boots


A small boy wears yellow rubber boots

he’ll soon outgrow but for now

keep him dry


as he helps his young mother push

his little sister in her stroller,

his tan barn jacket


just right for the rainy weather,

his sister’s stroller



by a cover of clear plastic that also

keeps her clear plastic bag

of Cheerios dry,


more gear—juice packs and

wipes and toys—in

a mesh sack


hanging from the stroller handle,

the mother—sensibly yet

smartly rain-styled—


listening to the boy’s enthusiasms

then sweetly laughing and

as I veer off


and they vanish, I see them still

slipping away in

my mind—


yellow boots lingering—

as if I was time



into the boy’s far future;

into stringent days



by his earliest—

if now departing—

rain-slicked memories.





The Trail


There’s the water glass

our teenage son left half-filled

beside the open book

he left on the coffee table

to check the dictionary

on his laptop which

he left in danger

of sliding off the couch he left

because the word he looked up

reminded him of the friend

he said he’d call, his cell phone

left near the cupboard he

investigated since talk with his friend

had turned to the question

of what was for lunch, the makings

of which he left around the kitchen

because he was hungry and what he made

was so good, the table crumbs

he meant to wipe off

left there because

a certain slant of light

made him take out his camera

which, after the shot, he slung from a doorknob

because his shoes, angled up together

in the hall, ended up

framed in the photo, suggesting

he get dressed to go out and,

now that he’s started, take

more pictures, though he had to

dig through the clothes in the dryer

first, most of which ended up

piled on the floor just when

we came home and, startled, said,

What a mess!




Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit