top of page



for Robert Drake Meadows

Born believing God and
unplowed earth everything.
Raised in Indiana
and wagoning with
Bible and seeds
to tame Nebraska.
Convinced wheat grew
anywhere with
sweat and prayer.
A nervous wife who
needed mama close.
Naming a first child
Precious Pearl and
buying her headstone
before Willie Jay and
Twilight Jean’s names
could be chiseled on.
Rats the size of yotes,
yotes the size of bears,
bears wearing gold watches.
Trust the Lord turned
How was I to know?
One November evening
after the foreclosure notice
carbolic acid meant
for barn snakes lifted from
the pantry, untended wife
seasoning stew for supper.

John Jeffire was born in Detroit.  In 2005, his novel Motown Burning was named Grand Prize Winner in the Mount Arrowsmith Novel Competition and in 2007 it won a Gold Medal for Regional Fiction in the Independent Publishing Awards.  Speaking of Motown Burning, former chair of the Pulitzer Jury Philip F. O'Connor said, “It works. I don't often say that, but it has a drive and integrity that gives it credible life....I find a novel with heart.” In 2009, Andra Milacca included Motown Burning in her list of “Six Savory Novels Set in Detroit” along with works by Elmore Leonard, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffrey Eugenides.  His first book of poetry, Stone + Fist + Brick + Bone, was nominated for a Michigan Notable Book Award in 2009.  Former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine called the book “a terrific one for our city.”  His short story “Boss” appeared in Coolest American Stories 2022, which won the International Book Awards Prize for Fiction Anthologies.  In 2022, his novel River Rouge won the American Writing Awards for Legacy Fiction.  For more on the author and his work, visit

bottom of page