Two Poems

Poetry by Holly Painter


Cryptic Crossword XIV


In casino town, butcher saves gal,

ladies’ man, and stagehand

from fire – they go back to family, as she sets off,

wandering far to let go of odorous

smoke. With erect gait, processing

defeats with infinite heart, the woman’s

bearing a man’s lubricant: liquor.


Las Vegas playboy

ashes fragrant cigarette

finishes whisky

Cryptic Crossword XIX


Hear lesson of the cow:

I live in Vermont in gray solemnity

hovering over animal feed consumed by chuck-

providing bovines. Modern

holy man confines curious

spirit to composing earth poems.

At last, we listen closely,

soaring with the aerial.


Lower gravity

Floating in strange atmosphere

finally flying

Holly Painter is a poet, writer, and editor from southeast Michigan. Her first full-length book of poetry, Excerpts from a Natural History, was published by Titus Books in Auckland, New Zealand in 2015. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have also been published in literary journals and anthologies in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Singapore. Holly teaches writing and literature at the University of Vermont.

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