ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

A journal for poetry, criticism, reviews, stories and essays published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.


Three Poems by Patrick Pfister.

Deep Ocean

Sudden news from California:
my brother enters the ER,
then the Telemetry Unit,
where virulence is revealed.

Bedridden, he privately performs
a Buddhist practice for the sick
and dying around him.

In Barcelona I take the news out
for a neighborhood walk.
On the way to clarity I drop
a few coins into a dirty hand.

The other hand rises upward
and caresses my arm
in passing.

                                     for Sean


Mirror Image

Peering at her wrinkles,
my mother murmurs:
“The years blur away choices
and bring into focus our mistakes.”

Her gnarled fingers rub the glass
but fail to erase
either the hours or the missteps.

“Now I can’t remember choosing,
or even what there was to choose about.”

Gazing in wonder, she sees beyond
her own desires and decisions,
beyond her own reflection.

“Flesh of my flesh,”  she whispers,
and touches one of my own wrinkles.



Even when early, I am late.
The two horses snort
and brandish their bulk.

Across the parched hills,
the sun’s rays pierce the earth
like thrusting swords.

I feed the impatient horses,
then go to feed my brother;
clumps of hair on his shoulders
like a fallen mane.

“Preciousness of time,” he murmurs,
“Sheer treasure of these minutes.”

Tomorrow the horses will want more hay.
My brother will want more light.


Patrick Pfister is the author of two books: “Pilgrimage: Tales from the Open Road” and “Over Sand & Sea.” His stories have appeared in various literary magazines and “Travelers’ Tales” anthologies, including “Best Travel Writing 2007.” His poems have appeared in Pearl, Juked, Chiron Review and elsewhere. His book, “El Camino and Other Travel Poems,” was recently published by Literary Laundry Press. Visit his website at:

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