Tag Archives: poet

Unsent Invitation

You’re invited to
accompany me for drinks
or a walk or a swim
after the main event
begins to drag into evening.
I promise to act so nonchalant
no one would suspect
I’ve been in love with you
from the moment
I saw your picture
on the dust jacket.
It was all those words
you strung together
that carried me away
and left me stranded inside
an imagination
that persuaded me to think
it might be possible
you would be curious
about a poet
at the writers conference
who looked like me
and could barely speak
without stuttering
when she asked if you wanted
to exit the hotel for a while
to get to know each other
off the page
before returning
to the question mark
of where to sleep
and with who.


DeMaris Gaunt



The childless mother
wants to be alone on Mother’s Day
to stare out the window
into the world she no longer shares
with the little boy, who long ago,
brought her glistening dandelions
bursting from his little brown hand
and decorated her hair
with the yellow joy of life—
treasures collected after a storm
turned the earth to mud.
That day wasn’t Mother’s Day—
but it’s the one she remembers
on the second Sunday each May
when she’d give anything to go back
and withdraw the reprimand
for the traces of mud he left
on his way to make her smile.


DeMaris Gaunt


The now
is hardly ever where we are.
We can be found
at most times
in the future—
planning the outcomes
of imaginary encounters
with those bodies we’d like to
acquaint ourselves with
after we exhausted the use
of our minds—
which so easily forget
that one day
the past is the only place
we’ll have to live,
and it’s best to leave it tidy
and pure.


DeMaris Gaunt



Small Fires

So much dreaming last night.
My sister in law was alive again
and laughing about how happy she was—
and I looked closely, and wasn’t surprised
that she was breathing—
but that I couldn’t see any evidence
that a noose had been so tight
around her neck.
And she didn’t seem alarmed
that the man beside me—
the one I melted into—
wasn’t her brother, but a poet
who had opened his arms to me on the train—
and I walked into them as if we had a history
of meeting like that in public places,
in front of ghosts who we knew
would never tell.

DeMaris Gaunt

Love Letter

My dearest, you are not my first love

or my second, or my third.

But you might be the fourth (or fifth).

I’ll have to give it some thought

and get back to you.

Just remember there were a lot of years

before we met, and even though

you aren’t my first husband

you’re my favorite, by far.

And you’re the best-ever guy

at all the important things

like cooking and doing laundry

and taking out the trash and

I love that we share all those things

fifty-fifty, unless of course

you happen to cook a few nights

in a row and wash the dishes too

if I happen to be busy

playing Candy Crush on my iPone

or stalking old boyfriends

on Facebook.

And you’re so handy around the house

which is so sexy, and I love

that we never have to call a plumber

even though the upstairs toilet

still doesn’t flush unless you hold

that lever down for a minute,

but seriously, we’re saving a buck

and I think it’s worth it

even if we have to spend

an extra sixty seconds of our lives

six times a day waiting to make sure

it all goes down.

Six minutes is a small sacrifice

in the whole scheme of things,

I mean I get to live with you

twenty four hours a day

and sleep next to you for six of them

and holy shit, you don’t even snore

which makes you even more kick-ass

and I know there must be a few ladies

out there who’d love to be me

and get to laugh like I do

at all the funny things you say

and no doubt more than a few

have wanted to snuggle up with you

because you’re so handsome

and you’re the perfect height and weight

and you’ve got the greatest legs

and you can out dance anyone I know

except the contestants on dancing

with the stars, but I don’t really know them

personally, so it doesn’t count, I guess.

And I don’t know any other artist as talented

as you, except maybe the one who

got to paint the Pope for Time Magazine,

and I think you give Elton John

and Lionel Richie a run for their money

when you sit down at your piano

and fill the air with such blissful nostalgia.

And how many other brides

were serenaded at their wedding?

I don’t need you to guess,

the question is rhetorical.

My point is that I know how lucky I am

and I’m really overwhelmed

by how good I’ve got it.

Your abundance of awesomeness

makes it easier to tolerate the fact

that you’re a slob in the bathroom

and that you’ve never cleaned a commode

in all your life, and if it weren’t for me,

there would be sticky shit everywhere

because that’s the way you roll

but it’s okay because you’re the one

who has to do a lot of jobs

that I don’t want to because

I’m just a girl in the world

and I don’t want to pop the hood

and get my hands greasy to check the oil

in our vehicles or shovel snow

in sub zero temperatures,

but you don’t seem to mind.

And I love that you go off to the library

and bring home stacks of nonfiction books

to improve our minds and challenge

our many indoctrinations.

You make life interesting and

fun and you make me proud to be yours

and even though I used to be jealous,

you’ve earned my trust,

even though there was that one time

you lied about where you were

and then there was that incident

in New Hampshire, but it’s been so long

I’ve decided to never bring it up again

and don’t worry, I forgive you

for blurting out during an argument

that you pretty much wanted to bang

every girl who walks and

who is good looking and old enough,

but who can blame you, right?

It’s not like you’re going to do it,

just like I’m not going to bang Steven

even if he wanted to

because I love you, and he’s married

to Rebecca anyway, and I don’t think

she’d approve or give him a pass

even though he probably has the same

lascivious thoughts as you,

and he’d probably want to bang me too

if he thought he could get away with it.

I guess what I’m trying to say

is that you’re my true love

and I think we’ve found a path

through happiness, however narrow,

and if you died, I’d die too

until I decided it was time to move on

and it might take a year or two

or a month or a week

or who knows— I might meet

Mr. Next at your funeral

and he might be there saying goodbye

to his mother or his wife,

supine in the adjacent parlor

and he might have a son who is our son’s age

and the boys might really hit it off and

it might seem like your death

was meant to be and I might

wonder for a minute if god really did exist

and this was his way of saying

“See, it all works out in the end,”

and I’d lie in bed next to my new lover

and cry a few bittersweet tears

because I know this poem

would have made you laugh.




DeMaris Gaunt


Chocolate Cake

Not even a year
since you’ve been gone,
and though I have no right
to weigh my loss
against your wife’s or your son’s—
or anyone else who knew you,
the weight was lifted a little
when just this afternoon
I saw a mutual friend
who knew you even longer
and better than me,
and she told me a story
about you and your favorite
curse word, and how you’d
be saying it now if you knew
that your art was featured
on a black T-shirt promoting
a local gallery, and we laughed,
and I said, “I loved him”—
and I said it as if I were saying
something as benign as
“I love chocolate cake”—
and she didn’t know I meant it
or how much, but saying those words
out loud for the first time
made me hope
(even though I know better)
you might have heard me.


DeMaris Gaunt



The Ending

Today would be
your 59th birthday
and I’m not sure
how I feel or what
I’m allowed to feel
which is exactly
how I felt when
you were alive
and I knew it was
wrong to love you
but there didn’t
seem to be a way
to stop and now
that you’ve ended
I can’t help but
wonder why it’s
so hard to put a
period at the end
of this sentence.

DeMaris Gaunt