Along the Lines

If you were one of those

who complained that longer lines

were going to be a problem for you

if the healthcare bill passed into law

the way a child might pass away

if he were uninsured,

come closer.


I want to look deep

into the trinity of your eyes—

the iris, the pupil and the white—

and see for myself if your humanity ends

where your religion begins.


After all, you,

who have paid your tithe

and lived so comfortably

on the soft pillow of coverage

cannot be expected to contemplate

the Lord’s complexity or question

his bestowment of blessings—

You simply accept by faith

that “deserve”

has something to do with it. 


All you know

is that it would be an abomination

if you had to wait an extra week

to see the specialist

or if you missed a tennis lesson at the club

because your appointment

got a fifteen minute bump

into your leisurely afternoon.


Come here.

Stand at the end of the line

and tell me what you see

before you close your eyes.



DeMaris Gaunt





Read this quickly


with urgency

the way you live your life

because there’s a message

inside these words

that might disappear

if you don’t speed up

and please

whatever you do

don’t walk away

in the middle

when you’re only

halfway through—

you’re almost there

you’re going to make it

don’t slow down

the finish line is close

it’s finally in sight

and this is where

you realize every time

that you didn’t really need

to rush.



DeMaris Gaunt




Now that I know what love isn’t,

instructed by a history of errors,


I can say for sure

what I’ve long suspected:


that night drive home from Cincinnati

dozens of years ago


(or was is only ten)

meant as much as the whole decade since.


Two lovers: one for a night and one for the long run,

one on wheels and one with an anchor.


It seems unfair that the first would

still drive me to the same conclusion:


that it’s possible for love to float alongside you

separate from the safety of your ship


like an old lifeboat, tethered,

just waiting for you to jump in.



DeMaris Gaunt



Faithful Airplanes

is unnecessary
if no harm’s been done,
but still, I think I’ll never tell anyone
how beautiful it was
to spend those hours
so fully enraptured by his company
in that small bar off the lobby
where we never touched
or discussed
what we’d have for dinner the next day
because there wouldn’t be one for us—
no next day, since airplanes
are mostly faithful to their schedule—
in sync with the plans we made
before we met.
And because we talked
so deeply about morality
we shook hands
as we exited the hotel,
both of us certain an embrace
would unravel us, turn us inside out
in one of those rooms upstairs
where anything could happen
and nothing
none of it
would ever be forgiven.





Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

From a distance

I thought it was a toy—

a glossy black

hard plastic

action figure

still holding tight to its bright red

secret weapon.


I could imagine the

crestfallen child

in the backseat of a minivan

having accidentally misjudged his grip

or the invisible strength of air—

the caped good guy down,

the villain still clutched in his hand.


To my surprise

it was a red-winged blackbird—

unarmed and fragile,

who may have been driven into traffic

as it fled a red-tailed hawk

or maybe it saw something

strange, similar to itself

dangling from tiny fingers—

and in a moment of brave curiosity

dove, and was lost

and would not be mourned

or missed

by anyone.




DeMaris Gaunt




Bread Alone

Bread Alone

Peanut butter is what you craved first

after surviving so long on bread alone.


You wanted to find out if His words were true—

if man (or kid, for that matter)

couldn’t live on bread alone—

or maybe you just wanted to prove Him wrong.


But on day two, your mother,

who you feared more than God Himself

said she was getting tired of this silly experiment

and insisted you eat some peanut butter

on the next slice.


At eight years old your reason told you

that to cheat just this once

would throw off the whole enterprise,

so you declined,

and took a few plain slices from the bag

before retreating to your room, alone.


You ate the bread alone, and dreamed all night

of the creamy taste of peanut butter

absent in your mouth

and by morning on the third day, you rose

to the tempting smell of bacon and eggs

which made you grin as you imagined Jesus –

silly Jesus, locked into an eternity

of believing some people might actually want

to live on bread alone.



DeMaris Gaunt




The Euphemistic Guide to Sexual Encounters

The Euphemistic Guide to Sexual Encounters


I’d love to come up

and see your etchings

if they are the skin deep scars

on your body.



It’s only fair

that I’ll polish your rocket

after you grease my wheel

that’s been spinning since we met.



We can explore my cave

before we play with your magic wand

and watch the rabbit

jump out of the hat.



I’ll blow the whistle

when it’s time to pull a train

into the station

after we’ve been travelling

all night long.



I want to sleep with you

as long as it means staying awake,

wide as the yawning moon.



I’ll walk through

the gates of heaven with you

if we don’t have to thank god

for what we find.





DeMaris Gaunt