Little Boy, Casualty of War – I Won’t Forget You

Oh humans—
what have we done

It was never enough
for us to eat
and love
and admire

We had to take
and own

We had to create gods
that could give us
authority to kill

We even turned
the wheel
into something
spinning forever
out of our complete


DeMaris Gaunt



This is Why I Love Him

Love is something
so sublime
it reaches from the son
to his mother
and back to his lover
with such ease
it makes me teary
to observe the shoulder
that will steady
one this afternoon
and be a pillow
to the other after the day
has had its way—
and duty will not
have been an obligation
but the purest
source of joy and
brief rejuvenation.

DeMaris Gaunt


I like to be awake
when one day
becomes another—
not because
I’m overcome
with motivation
to make tomorrow
better than today
but because it is a
small accomplishment
to have accumulated
something to say—
something to stay up for—
some words that need
to be typed in darkness
so that I can explain
how not everything
bathed in light
is transparent
or illuminated
or something
to believe in.


DeMaris Gaunt

Gift Exchange

I don’t think of you
except on Christmas Eve—
which you hated to share
with your birthday.
You wanted to be born
in summer, like me,
when there was nothing
more anticipated than
a birthday cake and a few
Mylar balloons tethered
to the center of the table.
We wanted so much
back then, when our lives
were new and unexplored
and our urgencies
promised to guide us
into the future—
and here I am, present,
almost fully— except I took
a moment to remember you
and the small gift we gave
to one another— which was
how to handle love
in a gentle way
when it wasn’t the right
color or size.


DeMaris Gaunt


First Love

Today was that day—
that hoped for, dreaded day.
I thought I’d have
a little more courage
to throw my arms around you
or at least move into your view—
but my tongue was so heavy
with words
they were like tiny millstones
pulling me back to that place
where we went under
and I couldn’t even breathe
or rescue my sinking hello.


DeMaris Gaunt

Message in a Bottle

This is one of those poems
that should never be released
into the small world
until it becomes large enough
to have made a comfortable place
for the people who live quietly
in the anchored silence
of propriety and decorum—
who will never admit how easily
the mind drifts into other waters
surrounding other continents.
And the bottle of red wine
at the holiday party is as close
as some people will get
to navigating certain shores
in search of what they hope
is a mayday or the faintest SOS.


DeMaris Gaunt