Sometimes it’s rain
or the swimming pool
in your neighbors backyard.
Often it’s the size
of a river in the little cup
beside your bed
which you accidentally
knock over in the night
as you adjust your pillow.
With unmistakable transparency
you know it wants you back—
luring you to the warm ocean
of a bathtub
where it could drown you dead
if you slipped under
and agreed to recycle yourself—
returning to its possession
most of what you are.


DeMaris Gaunt


Dear DeMaris

You know this won’t last.
Every time the colors
run together and darken
you forget how important
the color black is
for creating shadows
that cradle the light—
and I wish you wouldn’t
struggle so long to smooth
out your brushstrokes.
Who said you need
to blend in every color
with the next?
Just leave it alone
and return tomorrow
after sleep—
and don’t be surprised
if that slash of purple
from the ear to the mouth
is the detail that breathes
life back into the pale
green watering eyes.


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