steve burke

2021 Featured Poets Reading at Moonstone


Sunday February 20, 2022 – 2pm

Readings from the 2021 Featured Poets Anthology
Registration Required – Registration Link:

2021 was Moonstone Art Center’s busiest year ever, with 130 program both live and virtual. Of the almost 300 poets featured in these program, 88 have poems in this anthology. Join us as some of the poets read.


Grover by Steve Burke

Year-and-a-half-old Mariah, having toddled up to the TV screen,
places a palm there and pronounces “Gro-bah,”
the name of the gentle blue monster who lives there;
leaves a fresh handprint in the film of dust.
Later, from that same screen, I learn of a mother of two
having strapped both into their car seats
and let car roll down boat ramp into a lake.
Human become monster; a taste dry as dust in our mouths.
And, for me, a flashback-memory of me the little kid
being held under lake surface by bigger kid,
long enough to remember for this long: the being held under.
I awake heart in throat from this Dream: that Mariah
has been killed by a van sideswiping our parked sedan.
As bad: the feeling that even in sleep there is no escape,
that sleep can suffocate.
Then, mother-in-law Clara phones, hears of dream, and says
that this is good luck, that if you dream
of someone’s death it means that they will live long.
And so, I surface…the throat clears…and the mind
rises to believe that occasional horrors can power life.
This is what we never dream of:: the ribs being accordian’d down,
then of the lungs inflating for the first time…
the rupturing of the membrane between There and Here.
What we never remember: the last taste of fluid or that first of air…
that, before the taking-in, everyone is a little blue.
What we never forget: the haunting that we want to endure, that
we want to hold us with all our might; the first song, even
if it’s a scrawny voice, ringing full, ringing clear.
Steve Burke’s poems have been published in a number of journals & mags; has had two chapbooks – After The Harvest & For Now – published by Moonstone Press. He worked for many years as an obstetric nurse; lives in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.