Two Poems by torrin a. greathouse

& so i am writing another poem about gravestones

which is to say, i am writing about destinations & not
that we don’t all end up there, eventually, but

i have watched far too many of us arrive to heaven, anxious
& far too early as if it were a party, & we invited

only to find the doors locked, as if birth were an invitation
[or gravestone] that carried the wrong name

to us on the wind & after all, what is a gravestone but
anything that carries our name to us, heavy as bones

so maybe this poem is not about a gravestone at all, but
a mouth gaping & loud, sick withered maw

in skin like the ugliest sunset, that opens up & swallows
a name, spits it out broken & maybe this

was only ever about our names, how they leave our
bodies, liquid, like blood & take the form of
whatever will still hold them


notes on a park at dusk [mid-episode] a week after the election


i stare into the surface / of the lake this only / unmoving thing
while the sky mandalas itself / & there is a church / under the
water burning / building made plume / of brilliant light &
the surface of the lake / is clear as glass / a mirror / or
a television screen / this is to say: there is a history / of churches
steeples blackened / as the head of a match / floating
face down / is it drowning?



shadows weave a net : from the fingers of trees : unnatural
pulse of shadow : flash bulb in reverse : & the chatter
of voices like helicopter : blades & how they cannot touch
me : my shivering in dress & cardigan : & cock & bones out
-growing my identity : & the blessing of safety : not given
to others : a gaping hatchet wound : across the moon : black
face : spilling light : a reminder



the pathway splinters / under my feet i stoop & press / a broken
snail shell to my ear & hear / america—sirens / an avalanche
of howling / [ransacking my chest] the dull / wet thud of fist
percussion / a gunshot ringing out / clearer than the liberty bell




torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer, schizophrenic, cripple-punk from Southern California. They are the Editor and Co-Founder of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Assaracus, Crab Fat Magazine, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Polychrome Ink, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Calamus Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, and The Feminist Wire. torrin’s work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Rust + Moth. When they are not writing or editing poetry, they are trying to survive in america long enough to earn a degree.

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