This Wind

A fearsome thing it is today,
this wind.
Hardly a break between the gusts,
and when it takes a breath
even the calm seems to whistle
an eerie tune.
No wonder the gods were born
in its lungs
during all that time
we spent in caves
before bricks and mortar,
and before Aristotle
began in earnest
to understand everything
he didn’t.
There was no question then
that the wind was a mind, alive.
But now, at least,
we know it has no intention
to rip off the shingles, or make us afraid.
No sacrifice of virgins required
to appease it.
It will leave us alone,
like the gods, soon enough.


DeMaris Gaunt


Tiny and warm,
your cabin hugged us all:
your folks,
your brothers,
sister and all the kids,
and outside
we were surrounded
by velvet green meadows
which gave way
to a wall of trees glistening
with their last yellow hope
just as the light
invited the four of us
to walk into the landscape—
and my husband and I
thought you and your wife
were as happy
as we were that day,
and maybe you were
in that lovely afternoon
with our bellies full
and pumpkin pie
waiting to be sliced.
Only now is it clear
that deconstruction
doesn’t always take its time—
beauty can peak
like the autumn leaves
and then disappear
into a wasteland
of colorless cold.
Everything you owned
was divided, sold,
the tiny warm cabin
no longer part of our holidays—
and those of us
whose marriages
hadn’t failed as completely
as yours
gave thanks the following year
when we learned
that you had stumbled
upon it again – Love –
and we took another walk
into a different landscape,
the four of us,
changed, ordinary,
still so much beauty
clinging like leaves
before the fall.


DeMaris Gaunt


When I think
that you may die
before me,
the source of the sting
is not the absence
of a smooth
and polished future
that mothers wish
for their beloved children,
but the shortage
of the many terrible breaks
and losses and dents
which would have
carved into you
those pockets of emptiness,
without which,
no joy
could ever find purchase
and no pleasure
could ever cling.


DeMaris Gaunt

Just For Today

Just for today
dig up your death
and allow it passage
into your life

Lean gently into it
like the shoulder
of a stranger
on the subway

All you know
is that most days it waits
without excitement
or fervor

All it knows
is its duty to end
your breath,
and you accept

Best to make peace
or it will show you
the generous length
of its road

The only choice
you really have
is how you treat it
here and now

Don’t tempt it
with your worry
and never complain
about your destinations

It might be possible
to extend your mileage
but  you won’t ever
change its mind.


DeMaris Gaunt



Orbital Resonance

The party was delicious
with the smell of chocolate
and wine
and the people on the list
were beautiful
and dressed as if this
were the last day of the year
to advertise their singularity
and there were those little
clusters of stars
smiling and talking
and drinking too much
to notice that there were two
people in separate orbits
who couldn’t quite
manage to drift together
as nonchalantly and silently
as the two hands on
the midnight clock—
the ones that everyone watches
and waits for as if only their union
can grant permission
to cheer for the imaginary shift
into some uncharted galaxy
where maybe
just maybe
the candlelit atmosphere
of the back bedroom
where you go to retrieve your coat
from the heap of others
will become for an instant
populated with that other
lost planet
offering you a temporary gravity
in his elliptical arms
and what you both know
must be the first, last
and only kiss
of this or any other year.


DeMaris Gaunt

An Authentic Spiritual Experience

We know morning will come
and deliver our end
but still, we enter the room
with a key that resembles a credit card
and there, in the middle
is a single bed
like the nucleus of an atom
where we will make a payment
to each other’s body
in exchange for a memory of sensation
which will last longer
than the way you smell tonight of cinnamon
or the way I taste after the few sips of wine
which can’t be blamed
for bringing us here after we won the debate
on stage in that auditorium
split wide open between followers
of a certain book
and believers in a kind of science
that rejects absolute claims
that the tenderness we are about to share
is somehow immoral or irresponsible
instead of natural, necessary
and profoundly beautiful.


DeMaris Gaunt