Two Poems: How It Happens & Office Cleaning

How It Happens

by Scott T. Starbuck


In these mountains

when a boy wants a trout

he studies entomology,




the way a badger

eats a carmel marshmallow

off a cooling firestick,

without any excuse,

sleepy eyes,

or sheer boredom

so common in white boxes



Office Cleaning

by Scott T. Starbuck


After 24 years as a college professor

it’s time to let go.

What to take?


Orange citrine from an Italian model?


Rumi collection?


Oil painting of an Illinois farm

by my favorite English chair?


Letter from a student who claimed

I saved his life?


Watercolor/poem of a Vietnam Vet

about an old lady who befriended a squirrel?


Unclaimed essay on my desk—

a blond died brown in solidarity

with South African refugees?



Before working as a creative writing professor at San Diego Mesa College, Scott T. Starbuck was a charter captain and commercial fisherman in Oregon. His blog Trees, Fish, and Dreams is at Starbuck’s Industrial Oz: Ecopoems was noted by Thomas Rain Crowe: “ [it] just may be the most cogent and sustained collection of quality eco-activist poetry ever written in this culture, this country.”


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