Tag Archives: friends

Up in the Air

“I’m too shy” you said,
with a vulnerability
any 10 year old boy
would only show his mother.
And new to the neighborhood,
who could blame you
for imagining the humility of rejection
if the boy down the street
didn’t want to come out and play
and make a new friend,
which is what you hoped for
as you held the rocket launcher in your hand
and took a few steps into the street.
So I continued without you—
and in the minute it took to walk
between our house and the boy’s,
my own imagination
filled in ten thousand blanks
and I saw you two playing in the woods
catching toads
building forts
tracking mud into the house
fighting over a girl
playing baseball in the backyard
shooting arrows
falling out of trees
double dating
best man-ing—
and after I rang the bell
and watched the boy run toward you
his father and I talked about
where you and I lived before—
and he told me he was military, Air Force,
on their way soon,
like one of your rockets,
to they didn’t know where.






Back at home
there are two
pencil drawings
black and white
a gift from a friend
who means
something to me
but I can’t decide
kind of frame
would be best
and I’m standing
in the aisle
whether my choices
are as black and white
as these frames
so I take my time
make a decision
to the checkout
where the cashier
is careless
and scratches
one of the corners
says to me
all you need to do
is touch that up
with some black paint
and I say
you know that dent
is never
coming out







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.




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

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

Painting by Salvador Dali





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

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