Two Poems by Peter Grimes

Pillow Talk

He recalls another clothes-captured primal scene
of dream: he being he and she not she, they shrug
off their skins. For sure it’s what he wants
from others, what each one can’t give being she, he
needing others. For shame. Yet her underclothes read
the same. A clipped hedge like a lipless friend,
shaped in the high beams at driveway’s end, his icy
car sliding home. Tonight he greets the shrub,
pruned over a cavern to mimic fear, a duck,
raccoons rinsing claw-punctured apples, a grackle,
the topiarist gloats. When did she decide
the design of her groin? He crouches inside her
thighs, his prize spouting a tiny message—
preliterate mouse seeks friend, house for moving in.                      
Or through. No object of marvel, abject, half-
larval, he descends the hole toward the oldest place.
What are dreams but seizure, wings batting his craft,
a spaceship placebo, through wood and wormhole, trapped
and shuddering in cumuli of doubt, out
to land beside that same bed-warm human? Still
life. He flips on the mounted light, squints as he reads,
my wife. Garden of my shame, always it is you.


In Decision

I love all a little too plenty.
I’m like a plain sandwich fingered by mustard,
such density has me prancing, a geometer’s
cousin, struck by beauty others wrought

at random. It seems I cannot write mother,
who languishes daily in saloons,
her hair put up in cowboy couplets, without
begging for re-birth, a second
son. It seems my song is renowned
among the lowly, fingers crusted with spite
for a grip on the moment. I sing milk crates
lowing in the field, frog ponds spilling

into streams of you. The point of you,
perched in Spanish Influence, that Kingdom
of Kentuck, twenty-three miles and counting
pylons, as though they were planets


of the Sun. There is a grammar I cannot
parse, parched lips I suck. I speak
in mowing pitches of well-sown grass,
of waves, the lawn of landless ships.


About the Poet

Peter Grimes is an assistant professor of English at Dickinson State University. His fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Narrative, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Mississippi Review, and Sycamore Review.