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Grant Clauser




He remembers pushing the knife

deep behind the jaw

and cutting down to its tail.

If he was good he could wrap

his pointing finger around the guts

at the gill and pull them all out

in one feather like when his mother

waved at the driveway

and said father won't be back

or anything tonight

then went to her room

and shut herself for three days

until someone called the neighbor.

He remembers thinking that raccoons

must be so lucky 

to find those fish guts laying

in the weeds

like a man who finds

his shotgun fully loaded

and everyone asleep.


Trigger Warning


Dod had his father’s pistol

again. Shelly was drunk

but not too much

for a school night.

Her face the soft flush

of poison ivy.

The window that wouldn’t roll

all the way up

let rain in and smoke out.

Lights shone from the Indian Tower

so we drove to the bowling lane.

The parking lot lamps

made circles in the asphalt

like crop circles

and we were alien species.

I think back now

about how Shelly

slammed the car door,

and everyone watched her walk

the way eyes follow a train

running off its tracks.

Her hair wet on her face

as she entered the building.

Dod telling me to drive

anywhere the hell out of here.



Nazareth Road


At the end of my shift

I went to Dod's house

and found him knees down

in the backyard,

his dad screaming,

picking up handfuls of dog shit

and throwing them at him,

Dod taking it like a door

takes slamming, swinging shut

without comment,

a crack starting in the frame.

-from Reckless Constellations, Cider Press Review (2018)​, selected by Spring POW Guest Editor, Luke Johnson


GRANT CLAUSER is a technology journalist, editor, sometimes teacher and dust collector. His previous poetry books include The Trouble with RiversNecessary Myths, and The Magician’s Handbook. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cortland Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Journal, Tar River Poetry and others. He can be found on Twitter at @uniambic.

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