Mark Belair: Three Poems

Mark writes: Joe once mentioned to me that “Fakers” was one of his favorites. The other two he nominated for Pushcart prizes, so I figure that gives them pride of place.


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 Word

The Ferris wheel, after

furnishing a grand ride,

stops with you at the top

and starts to let riders off

(drop/stop/swing a bit)

seat by numbered silver

seat and you try to savor

each remaining vista

(I can still see the car wash!

I can still see Kelly’s farm!),

your allegiance true to heights

each step of the fated way down,

you rocking your seat as much

as you dare while you still have

the chance until it’s nearly your

turn and you start to feel the pull

of the big, warm earth and hear

the indifferent gears of the Ferris

wheel and, reorienting, notice

how the process of getting off

is undertaken: then the thin,

nicked metal bar gets swung

open by a slightly scary carney

and you step out and plant your

feet on the wooden ramp, then,

steps later, on the solid crust of

home ground, the familiar place

the ride, it seems, only just began

and though you’re only 7 years old

the whole circular event feels like

some weird premonition

except you don’t know that word

yet so don’t know what it was you

just felt; what it was just happened.




I woke when the car stopped, but

faked sleep

so my father

would carry me into the house.

He’s faking,” my big sister, having to walk

because no faker herself, crankily complained.

But my father, not listening,

carried me in anyway,

faking he didn’t know I was faking

because he liked to carry his boy.

We two fakers,

hugging each other for real.


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Harvard Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. He is the author of seven collections of poems and two works of fiction: Stonehaven (Turning Point, 2020) and its sequel, Edgewood (Turning Point, 2022).  He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times, as well as for a Best of the Net Award. Please visit