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Mineral Expectations
Bruce Dethlefsen


limestone awfully lonesome
since my father’s gone
and miss our little talcs
and conversations

how I marbled
at the strength of this good man
a grocer who would sandstone much all day
that he developed varicosities
in both his legs and never once complained

even though I took his love for granite
I can still recoal his exact words and sediments

it slate for him he’d say too late
but you shale mica difference in this world
he’d point at me and shake his finger

of quartz he understood and wished for me
not just the same old schist
but a future that pyrites
would be mined
and mined alone


(Something Near the Dance Floor, Marsh River Editions, 2003)
Used with the author's permission.

Bruce Dethlefsen is the author of five books and was Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate from 2011-2012. He plays drums and harmonica in the Prairie Sands Band and runs Poet Camp twice a year. Bruce volunteers writing poetry in prisons and lives in Westfield, Wisconsin. Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
OMG, I laughed and cried at this one! For so many reasons.... Thank you, thank you, Bruce. (And let me just add that I really thought 'take for granted' was 'take for granite' until I was at least 12, maybe longer....)
Posted 04/02/2015 08:36 AM
A wonderful play on words...playing with words...loved it.
Posted 04/01/2015 04:14 PM
Mary Lou Taylor:
Clever. Clever. Clever. Couldn't help but try to correct the first couple. From then on I was hooked.
Posted 04/01/2015 12:25 PM
Of "quartz" poetry month should start off with a Wisconsin (recent)Poet Laureate. Thanks, Bruce, for this poem and for your inspiring lead-ership.
Posted 04/01/2015 08:56 AM
Glen Sorestad:
A delightful way to start Poetry Month. I love the word play.
Posted 04/01/2015 08:53 AM
Posted 04/01/2015 07:20 AM
so fun and so Bruce! love it!
Posted 04/01/2015 06:49 AM
Both clever and lovely
Posted 04/01/2015 01:12 AM
This poem is delightful and clever in its use of words. Of Quartz, I love it.
Posted 04/01/2015 12:49 AM
Very clever and a joy to read.~~Doris Bezio
Posted 03/31/2015 11:24 PM
Ross Kightly:
A rare thing: a poem that is genuinely clever in its wordplay but truly moving too! Thank you all. My own Old Man might point his folding carpenter's rule at me & nod.
Posted 03/31/2015 11:17 PM

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