“Jack Pines,” “Beachcombing,” and “Yards Away”

“Jack Pines,” “Beachcombing,” and “Yards Away”

Photo by Marc Korhammer/Wirestock on Adobe Stock

Jack Pines

They survived the fin de siècle logging

That claimed the rouge et blanc

Leaving tepees of slash

On the Grayling sand.

And the farmers

Wielding fire to clear land,

With a flash that scorched Oscoda.

& Au Sable, Rose City,

Holland & Manistee,

Shore to shore.

The sap a bubbling fuel.

Cones popcorn open.

In the aftermath, wind

Swirls ashes & seeds

The length of three

Felled end-to-end.



Shale crisps smear like wet chalk:

Cobalt-charcoal with some olive.  A sludge under outcrops—

A fallen pine

That tears mossy carpets from the collapsing

Dune.  When the waters are calm,

They stay clear, but for some granular floaters

Stirred up from the mucky floor

That slimes and squishes between your toes

& coats Petoskey stones & igneous rocks.


I dig bare-handed

Into the stretch of beach

That remains.  My fingertips scrape

Against coarse wet sand,

Buried rounds of granite & schist,

Tiny beads of silica,

Bulbs & discs

Tumbled by the waves,

Flecks & shears from

Larger rocks.

Yards Away


The sugar maple’s red-orange fireglow against crisp blue.


A dropped rock:

the soft muted thud

& faint spray

of dirt.

The pad of soil under fallen pine needles.


Honey locust—

the rake flips those little leaves up & out of the grass

a spray of dust mites from a carpet,

some freed for the leaf pile, some settled back into another place—

rake and scrape over & again, get about half of what’s left,

each time but never all.


Sunset extended into the atmosphere, from a

shale overlook collapsed into dunes.

About the Author

S.D. Dillon

S.D. Dillon is a poet and small business owner from Michigan. He has an AB from Princeton and an MFA from Notre Dame, where he was Managing Editor of The Bend in 2004. His poetry has appeared recently in Tampa Review, Barstow & Grand, Red Noise Collective, Door = Jar, The Under Review, and Cathexis Northwest Press, and is forthcoming in Wild Roof Journal, Gabby & Min’s Literary Review, The Wave, and Half and One.

Read more work by S.D. Dillon.