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Grant Souders


The bear now.

Instead of what is what.

One might come to expect.

To expect is, being central to our view, bobbling the ball and not in fang, the bear

Sinks a paw into the buoyant

and isolated atmosphere

If being a crime is dancing

I want to be wrong. When this is over, and remember, it will be over.

Somewhere there’s a party. I can’t even remember it.

Dancy dance dance.

Jaunty like the ladybug, or certain aspects of the sea.

It’s like riding a psychotic horse towards a burning stable.

Everything belongs to the past.

The Past whispers to the bear who then whispers to me,

If you had anything poetic to say, now would be the time to say it.

But I’m in my bathroom, on lockdown, shaving my beard, thinking of past lovers, listening to Hospital by Modern Lovers. Nothing, for me, will ever be this morning.

And the bear, he listens. And so does the past. And now I’m on to a different album entirely.



We find ourselves regained in the community pool.

Love, mischief, regret, tumbling down, splashing our

backs slick gray in water from the bottom of the bottom of

what we do not see, which we do touch and want

with our backs to stain ourselves

with it to be stained with ourselves

together to strike against silence by


nothing but being a cluster of each other.

Because it, the pool, was perfect without us and

did not beg us but the day heats and you had this


to have wanted to be the tiger that, unbashfully, looks

up and is in its world

as to not only see

but to see us to see me and you and our stained

skin knows absolutely how it is not part of us.

Where our eyes push back at us

the houses glow

and we let them and wait for the

wind or a song to excuse

to excuse us our wet

terrible our stained bodies

to excuse us our eyes to

excuse that we close them

think it

to be right how we

are a necessary addition

to an unnecessary statement.

Because the sun faces directly across the

length of street when you are walking

now leaving the pool

the tiger in that particular

direction, which is farther

we want ourselves

and we try tho often deceptive

ourselves to look downstreet

farther and farther against and


the stupid glare of this or that

glistening, insected, punctuated




Before I was a land I was

a landing the stairs flooded into

acorn wood stripped of its bark

the weather is big, bigger than

the body. The body contained

like a storm cellar. I sprint across

it, the land, to be there inside of it.

Tapering outward and down

the stairs meet the inglorious flat.

Before I was even aware

there was weather.

Us inside of it, the land, too.

What heir am I? to what province?

What property my inheritance?

to which lands?

I asked only for time.

For time and labor

to sustain myself, us, inside.

The weather, itself, in part rich

smoke air magnesium calm.

The moths, the cave, the caving in

of the mind. The magnesium cave

filled with miners, like moths

beneath the light, the moths abscond with particulate.

So many of them as enormous as abstract numbers.

What is my payment in all this?

I counted what I could.



It took an hour and a half to do what I was doing. It took

most of the life out of me for another ten minutes, but then

I was fine. I was mostly most of a medium-sized river

before I was born. David sits like a song bird so that no one sees

him. The song birds see him. See him sitting there on a log, laugh and leave.

For David, I built a house. I built the house out of sticks

and dry grass. The driest. I built the house which was called compensation.

I built the house around David so that he could see

what was going to happen to him before it happened.

Time is a sublime thing for a house to be built in.

For David, I killed three deer and ran their skin over him.

At this, some song birds sang, others flew away. Some

made themselves there, like David, like fog, like the gulls

approaching water.


Grant Souders is the author of the poetry collection, Service (Tupelo Press, 2017); chapbook, Relative Yard (Patient Sounds, 2011), and a collaborative book with Nathaniel Whitcomb and Matthew Sage, A Singular Continent (Palaver Press, 2014). His poetry has appeared in the Boston Review, jubilat, iO, OmniVerse, Denver Quarterly, Paperbag, and other venues. His visual art has appeared at a variety of galleries in Colorado. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop where he was a Maytag Fellow. He currently lives in Denver and teaches English at the University of Colorado.

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