Tag Archives: writing


I never meant
for you to love me
the way I loved you—
which was secretly
and entirely
without justification.
I never meant
for you to follow me
into the briars of language
where meaning and intent
so easily tangle.
I never meant
for you to find me
in my shadow land
and ask if all my poems
were for you.
I never meant
to break your heart
when I told you
never enough
will be the way
I’ll always love you.



What You Will Pay For

Months in advance you put in for the time off.
You book the flight, hotel – the rental car.
It doesn’t have to be Europe or exotic.
It can be Vegas or that Grand Canyon
that many have fallen into by accident or on purpose.
All you want is to stand on that edge of anticipation
for as long as you can.
It doesn’t matter that the beach
won’t look like the pictures
or that the accommodations you can afford
will fail to overwhelm.
You already know that absolute happiness
is impossible wherever you stand—
that you are the wrong end of a magnet
unable to make a connection.
Joy is an achievement of your mind as it hovers
above the pillow before you go to sleep.
It isn’t the view from the mountaintop
or the taste of fresh lobster
that will make your trip worth the exchange
of a paycheck or two.
The sweet pleasure of longing is the prize.
The delicious expectation, prolonged and satisfying—
this is what you wanted.
For this, you would pay almost anything.


November 24th, 2016


You are running out of time
and you know it’s not right
to spend it wanting the hours
to slow down in your favor
so you can have a little more time
to consider the damage you’ve already done.
You want to believe it will all work out—
That forgiveness will wait for you
on the other side of every last mistake
you’re about to make—
and you’ve concluded that making them
is what you do best—
and this Thanksgiving could be your last
so you want to make it count
by giving thanks for the duplicity
inherent in such a day—
that two people can share an equal
and opposite feeling of gratitude
for things that happened
and things that didn’t.


DeMaris Gaunt



It’s you again
keeping me awake
keeping me from sleep—
that place I no longer dream of you.
It’s not that I’m annoyed— no.
I’m never bothered by your visits
or the way you distract me
or interrupt my task.
What worries me is the way
you dissolve over time—
the way you leave me
alone more often now.
I have loved to be lost
in the comfort of your memory
but I fear one day
I will forget to remember you.


DeMaris Gaunt

Three Avocados

The new neighbors
who we didn’t know well, but didn’t like,
were going on a mission trip
so they knocked on our red door
and offered us three black avocados
and two ripe tomatoes
because, God bless us,
they didn’t want them to go to waste.

We were newly married then
and I had never tasted an avocado
or been in the same room with one.
My Indiana upbringing was void
of anything exotic or unknown—
and because my father had no appetite
for exploration, my mother,
(whose appetite for adventure was never satisfied)
filled our dinner table
with banal predictable flavors.

Those avocados did not enjoy salvation,
as our neighbors prayed they would.
It would be another ten years
before I’d have my first taste.
Dinner at a friend’s house—
burritos and sliced avocado.
I think about them sometimes—
those three wasted avocados—
how a sprinkling of salt and a spoon
would have changes our lives sooner
and for the better.

Eventually they moved away, our neighbors,
to start a new church up north.
We never liked them,
but had we known they’d given us
a fruit from heaven
we might have forgiven them
for the way everything they did
was in god’s name.


DeMaris Gaunt

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


Lunch with my Parents

We greet with hugs
and kisses and smiles
even though it’s only been a week
since we dined together
at another restaurant
in another part of town.
I dress for the occasion
in something like church clothes
because that’s what you do
when your parents are rich—
and they want to make sure
everyone knows who’s in control.
And you mustn’t forget
how much I love them—
though they’re on another team
who wants to build a wall
between abundance and need.
They struggle to understand
the equality of my love for others
while I remind them of a world
that doesn’t exist on Fox News.
Funny how well we get along
since we agree on nothing
except for the excellence
of the julep, the berry salad
and the turkey club
made divine by the avocados
which entered the country legally
and without the scrutiny
that my father gives the bill
when it arrives on the silver tray.
I’ll offer to pay my fair share
but my mother will refuse
and wrap her right wing tightly
around me as if she still believes
that angels are keeping track
of all her good deeds—
which are always sincere,
even if they are limited to
a world so small she believes
it can still contain me.




DeMaris Gaunt