Two Poems


I used to have a face but life is brief and I’m starting to lose
now there’s only this dripping of words like


at least I know better than to look too closely
last night I caught a glimpse of him
in the mirror

he walks before me now
past the window where I write
dressed all in black
looking back through the pane
at me

his alibi airtight

[This isn’t the play]

This isn’t the play I thought I was in, I say, when I go to bed, again, without you. It’s not the part I was first offered, I tell myself as I lie awake. The next morning, during yet another round of make-up sex, I try out my new lines, playing with the rhythm, deepening the tone. Do you find me more a-ttrac-tive when I e-nun-ci-ate each word? We smile, knowing how short the scene will be.

This afternoon, for the first time in a week, I sit down eager to write. A minute later, both German Shepherds paw at the door. I let them in and nearly retch with the smell. “Stupid dogs!” I yell, as they stand there gagging and hacking, frothing at the mouth. “I’m tired of you!” I shout, as I slam cabinet doors, searching for the elixir that will rid them of the skunk smell. “I can’t do this anymore!” I cry as I scrub them in the bath, toweling them off with rough hands. They turn frisky, nosing between my legs, rolling about the floor, barking for me to join in. How easy it is to play when we don’t understand our parts.

Peter Grandbois is the author of seven previous books, the most recent of which is, The Girl on the Swing (Wordcraft of Oregon, 2015). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over seventy journals, including, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been shortlisted for both Best American Essays and the Pushcart Prize. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.