Chuck Kramer: “The Cruelest Month”




The Cruelest Month

we stand at the end
of this stony, barren road
on the last day of April
peering through May
to the gates of June
and lush summer lawns
where we bask in the sun
sipping mint juleps with friends
maybe then we’ll forget
the isolated agony
of this brutal, crushing winter
but the exile might never end
as the evils of the last century
the death camps the bombs
the plagues the melting ice—
finally coalesce into
the lonely, terrifying nightmare
we can’t wake to escape
come August there may be reaping
a rich full harvest—
the end of the ordeal
but the ground may be barren
a biblical judgment on our rashness
and the quarantine an endless
sentence to pay for the
thoughtless crimes we’ve committed



About the Author: Chuck Kramer is a Chicago writer of fiction, poetry, and journalism. He has an MA in Writing from DePaul University and taught writing in the Chicago Public Schools at the Communication Arts Center. 

He’s currently the vice-president of the NewTown Writers, works on the editorial staff of the Chicago Quarterly Reviewand previously served as a workshop coordinator with the Chicago Writing Conference. He was the cohost of the long-running Weeds Poetry Open Mic.

He occasionally freelances for the Windy City Times and his journalism has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, and Reader. His poems and short stories have appeared in many publications, both online and in print.

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Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith: “Dirt road to nowhere in rural Moffat County, Colorado; well, Wyoming, if you take the road far enough in either direction. It loops up over the Wyoming border going either east or west” (2016) The Library of Congress (Public Domain)

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