Two Poems

by Peter Grandbois

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There is a prayer that enters every house

Silence wide as rain

as the wind shuts

our eyes again.

Shadows fall straight

through trees and we

become a world

burning in the dark.

Lifted in the curl

of your finger, I

know only the bloom

of being unhomed,

not this sleep-torn wound

not this night of crows

not this absent moon.


What waiting has to teach

1.

I am for you when night

breathes over the tall grass

where we bathed our pure feet.

I am for you when light

fills our mouths with holy

names we scribbled on tongue-

drenched skin. I am for you

the way a hand can look

like so many fingers

singing the fire’s secrets.

I am for you the way

the ocean grows inside

us whenever we lay

down in a field like stars.

2.

“Fuck off!” I shout, throwing my hands in the air as if the bees

could never carry the morning’s profusion of lavender through the open window.

“I don’t know why we married,” you say. “You were different when we married.”

The ceiling fan churns, understanding the need for dust.

“I’ve changed. People change.”

The slanted light of morning was never made of silence

“What about us? The kids?”

but of echoes like a prayer of swallows howling their way home.

“I don’t know.”

The sun’s folded hands open and close, open and close.

“Do you know what it is you want?”

The floorboards creak as I stumble through the half-light on my way to the bathroom too groggy to pay attention to the wind outside, the wind inside, the wind moving through me, the wind whispering

“Not this. Not this. Not this.”

3.

The way light slows as it enters a body,

knowing we are nothing more than cells

dividing, the way sun strikes a dew-soaked

wheat field, each blade glistening until each

exhausts itself with its own solitude,

or the way a child’s hands gather that same

light, as if it knew to shape a window

through which to view the coming dusk that threads

through everything we do, the dusk framing

the door, cutting off the center of all

we knew—you are not who you are—and then

the moon, as if anything can be caught

in this deepening dream, as if we could

travel through feathered night and never change.


Peter Grandbois is the author of seven previous books. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over seventy journals, including, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been shortlisted for both Best American Essays and the Pushcart Prize. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine, fiction co-editor at Phantom Drift, and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.

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