Duane L. Herrmann


The hills are alive
with coyote chorus
excited tipping
of the young’uns
rolling over prairies
on the winds
as full moon shines
her silvery glow.
This is their land too.


Clear cold days
to wake the face:
bright sun
with no warmth
of no mind
for comfort
as winter
freezes on.


All have red blood,
and pumping heart.
All cry in pain
or distress.
Though varieties,
life is united
in simple ways –
why can we not see
these unities?


Memories can change
be overlaid,
gain new meaning,
a friend they weren’t
but effort,
must be made.


Daddy said he loved us
with all his heart, and cried,
then said to face the wall – quiet!

Then he brought the little ones
and told them to stand too.

He went up the line
one head at a time…


I ran!


The sign warns:
“Clean floors
prevent accidents.”

Just as truly
it can advise and mean:

      and mean:

prevent clean floors.”
True too!


The work of Duane L. Herrmann has been published in print and online, in over a hundred journals, more than fifty anthologies, plus seven volumes of poetry, more chapbooks, a history, and a sci-fi novel; all despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Duane was first featured on June 19, 2020, and again on December 4, 2020. Some of his thoughts were also selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance. His latest feature was posted on June 24, 2022.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.


Charles Randolph

In the Old Days

When the sun begins to go down
And the smell of dusk appears
Along with the crickets and mosquitos
And the loudness of summer
The warmth of yesteryears come alive
And past scenes spring out into the forefront of my mind
Remembering cool, tall glasses of Momma’s lavender lemonade
And feeling giddy as my mouth is awash with flavor
I reminisce on the ache of youth awaiting a transition to adulthood
And my soul is back home
I find myself wishing for those playful, uninhibited days
And then I hear Dad yell
“I need help with your mother, Son!”

A Walk in the Park

Rosie, my cheerful companion, tethered to me willingly
She barks with joy at leaves flutter up into the wind
Rustled alive with each step taken

We’re alone in the park today, odd but welcome
No other yapping to be heard or big dogs’ trajectory to avoid
I release her and watch her run free with abandon

I wonder if Rosie is sad to have missed her friends
Is she happy it’s just us or does she even care at all
Who knows what goes through a dog’s head

Her business done, chased balls caught and returned
She pants hard, taking more and more breaks
It’s time to return home

Please Don’t Forget

The mail is on the table
Take it with you, eh
Give Robert my regards
Pick up my prescription, would you
And while you’re out, go to the Metro, please
Would you get me some strawberries
And grab today’s newspaper
And maybe something for tomorrow’s dinner

Please, don’t look at me like that
I’m sorry I’m in a wheelchair too


Charles Randolph, retired and a sometime poet, lives in Canada. He has a parrot and a cockatiel for companionship. This is Charles’ first feature on The Short of It.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.


Longing For The Past

Originally published PhiloSusi 6/16/14. Posted on I Write Her on May 9, 2018, with slight revisions.

Zhong Yang Huang – Joy and sorrow

uninvited days of the past
appear at the door of my present
they push inside
to fill the heaviness in the room
a smile begins to form on my weary face
uninhibited laughter
passionate entanglements
mundane and easy tasks
all flickering a pretty picture
actively watching
the gloriously faded memories
now vividly replaying in my mind
but the door closes eventually
and i’m again
fully toiling in the sorrow
which summoned another life
tears, uninvited, fall silently
the wetness glazes over the joy
images from a previous time
return for safe-keeping
until my mind summons them

Thoughts Of You

at least five times a day
but more like twenty
i pass the nooks in my home
special places filled with treasures of connection

a beacon of warmth
emerges and spreads in me
as memories of times past
fill my head and my heart

i always wonder
if the dearest to me know
their pictures, cards and curios
spark a friendly smile on my face

i’m thinking of us in those moments
remembering our joy together
knowing their love connects us
and that our distance could never diminish it

my heart puffs up
with a deep caring for those special people in my life
the bits of them ensconced in the various mementos
they remind me daily of the support i have around me

i will never be lonely
when all i have to do is open my eyes
their precious art, gifts and trinkets surround me
their love always in my presence

Tracks To The Past

Inspired by Sadje’s What do you see #63 & The Sunday Whirl #489

when memories present
in the silence of my room
i check my expectations at the door
my spine gets comfortable
as i delve deep into the bank of the past
the risk of emotions is high
will my cheeks remain dry
i hear the clunk of metal gears
hobos sleeping in rail cars
their lives in a haze
while i play in the train yard
i wonder in my head where they are now


Taking It All In


at just the right moment
breathing in deeply
just slightly past full capacity
breathing out with purpose
expels my demons as relaxation fills every ache

stepping reverently on a wooded path
smiling as the sun trickles in between the leaves
bird noises and bug rustles follow my trek
breathing in nature’s clean scent
breathing out the tension of the day

watching my child’s eyes brighten
seeing the discovery take place in his mind
such a joy to behold this sweetness
breathing in hope for his future
breathing out satisfaction as a parent

peace, connection and boundless love
in those moments of sheer perfection
reflection upon them gives me peace
knowing i’ll be taking them with me
when old age gives me less and less of them

Her Hands


i look at my hands
and discover
they’re her hands

my veins
are not as plump
nor as soft

as a young child
her hands
gave me comfort

her veins
were my toy
to rub for hours

this one allowed act
was solace for me
for her too it seemed

a simple act
of touch
we both needed

the affection stopped
as i grew older
and we moved far away

other memories
were of rigidity and coldness
and superficial acknowledgment

when i found she wrote poetry
i realized
another connection

her hands
brings me closer still