16 June 2011

Hans Ostrom

[from Hans Ostrom's The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006, Dog Ear, 2005]

Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven

They call each other E. Elvis picks
wildflowers near the river and brings
them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.

In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports
Levis and western blouses with rhinestones.
Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers

and T-shirts, a letterman's jacket from Tupelo High.
They take long walks and often hold hands.
She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.

Emily's poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,
Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard
Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.

Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon
he will play guitar and sing "I Taste a Liquor
Never Brewed" to the tune of "Love Me Tender."

Emily will clap and harmonize. Alone
in their cabins later, they'll listen to the river
and nap. They will not think of Amherst

or Las Vegas. They know why God made them
roommates. It's because America
was their hometown. It's because

God is a thing
without feathers. It's because
God wears blue suede shoes.

Hans Ostrom


  1. Thanks so much for posting my poem. I appreciate it. Here is a Youtube reading of it I made:


  2. You are most welcome, & yes, I saw the Youtube reading. Wish more poets would do this. It's truly a great poem. Killer ending, as many of my poet friends noted.