Dawn Schout

Poet and Author of Wanderlust​​


Award-Winning Poems

Looking Back

He ran two
miles with me, hands in his sweatshirt pocket,
strides twice as long as mine.
He sped up the last 200 meters,
didn’t look back.
At 4 a.m., I brought him to the army
recruitment center, eyes aching
from tears and no sleep.
I tried to memorize the exact blue
of his eyes, his short, spiky
hair, the scar
on his forehead,
and the one almost hidden
by the stubble on his chin.
I hugged him until his recruiter’s
car turned into the parking lot,
watched him walk away,
watched the car until it disappeared
around a corner.
He didn’t look back.
In the bottom drawer of my dresser, I bury
a month’s supply of letters, his words
like sharp objects in my pockets.
I toss pictures of him in the glove compartment
of his truck before dropping
it off. As I drive away,
I look back.

Winner of the 2010 Lucidity Poetry Journal Contest


He repositions the mirrors so he can see me,
half my face hidden
behind his shoulders. I rest
my feet on the stump-like pedals, press
my knees against his waist.
He lowers his feet to the floor, leans
the motorcycle to each side to pretend
we’re speeding around corners,
revs the engine, fills the garage with exhaust,
makes me lightheaded.
Until he gets insurance, this is all
the ride I’ll get. I want to wrap
my arms around his chest,
lean my head against his back, the faded
words on his T-shirt, go somewhere
together. But we’re just friends,
so I keep my arms at my sides.
He asks what I like best about the bike. You
and me on it, I want to say.
Imagining what could happen
if we left the garage
and took a real ride together.
He has the bike to remind him
of that night.
I have a burn
from the hot muffler
I wasn’t supposed to touch.

Winner of the 2012 B.J. Rolfzen Memorial Dylan Days Writing Contest

Recently Published Poems


You hold blackness,
air, me in your hands.
I can make my own light,
my own darkness, too.
Take a peek if you dare.
What draws you to me, so still, silent,
weightless. If you didn’t peek
you couldn’t be sure
I’m here.
I brush my feet across your skin
to let you know I am.
You lift a finger, create a hole
in the cave, a tunnel of light.
Let your fingers come
undone, those walls fall, to get
a better look at me.
I promise to stay
for a second.

Published by Vox Poetica

Pencil and Pen

The loop in his cursive L doesn’t know
where to go.
He writes in pencil,
the words fading
with time, with overuse.
Smudges, eraser marks
cover lined paper in easy
to misinterpret prose. 

The bottom of her e is rooted
to an imaginary line.
She writes in pen,
each word crisp
and clear as the sunflower
on her bright white stationery.
No scribbles, 
no changes.

Published by Illya's Honey