Tag Archives: friends

Days, One at a Time

It’s impolite to be absent
when you’re sitting
with friends at the table.
All you have to do
is keep breathing—
keep acting like elsewhere
isn’t where you’d rather be.
You have turned happiness
into an art form so abstract
no one would recognize
that your smile is blooming
from thoughts of the wildflower
hike you’ll be taking in April
instead of the joke that
just made everybody laugh.

 

 

DeMaris
12-16-16

The Fall

Couldn’t meet you in October like we planned
because even though it’s been years
since an airplane delivered you
within miles of my proximity—
and even though our status is just friends,
we both know how easy it would be
for our afternoon visit in the coffee shop
to end up in the red-orange woods
on that familiar trail we liked to take years ago
before we were married to others
and before we knew what kind of mistakes
we were capable of making—
and I know what kind of regret I would be in for
if your green eyes were to linger on the lips
of my uncertainty — my inextinguishable desire
to touch what must remain hidden under buttons
and buckles and layers of memory and time.

DeMaris Gaunt
10-30-16

The Call

The Call
(For Sarah)

You don’t make it – the call—
because you’re unsure
if you’re really that close
to falling into the category
of folks who go belly up
if an ambulance isn’t called.
And as much as you love
a story with a happy ending,
attention that isn’t called
to you is the best kind.
So you watch the sky darken
with your lifeline within reach.
Anyone you called would come
and sit with you as your chest
caved in and you’d swear
you hadn’t touched the bottle
in five days, and it would be true—
but no one would believe you.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
5-24-16

Painting by Salvador Dali

 

 

 

Metaphor

It was a lovely sound—
all that autumn color
crunching beneath my steps.
At a broad glance,
the sky was mottled gray
but seemed bright white
when I looked up
through all those branches,
mostly bare and trembling
in the dark coat
of their silhouettes.
Two leaves caught my eye
and caused me to pivot
underneath them,
walk a few steps back
and admire them
for their proximity to the end
of the longest branch,
and for their unwillingness
to fall.
They were so close
they overlapped
and though they both had holes,
one was less infirm
than the other,
and it seemed to me
in that hallowed moment
that I was witnessing some
act of kindness so great
I wanted to give it life—
so I imagined them
with tiny minds
and large emotions,
feeling the comfort that comes
when loved ones
agree to stay close
when a change is about come—
when everything familiar
has fallen away
except the enduring serenity
of friendship and love.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
10-30-15

Exit Wound

It is final—her death.
Her short life is over.
An accumulation
of her 40 years
was enough to produce
a kind of life which—
when ended—
shot bullets of grief
through her family
and friends,
and even those of us
who know her now
only by the stories
she left behind.
If only the last one
could be erased—
the story of her ending—
the story of the bullet
that isn’t a metaphor
for pain or death
or the kind of speed
with which sorrow
can pierce the day
with its cold metallic
indifference, and leave
the living on the ground
bleeding from
the exit wound.

DeMaris Gaunt
6-30-15