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"Pedestrian Living", "Missing Person’s Report", "Abilene Rhapsody"… by Augustus C. Grohmann

Pedestrian Living

Brown house finch, God’s

beauty borne aerial with heart

and murmur and beat of wing

all enumerate in feathers sweet,

small-beaked, simple drive

of wearied poet and old man’s swing—

crushed dead on a one-way.

Missing Person’s Report

Eating day old pierogi, the line between

nourishment and punishment, nearly

absent now. I drink my milk, but, you know,

height isn’t everything. Marta was telling me

how the whole thing was a corporate lie anyway,

and I made idiotic jokes about how Big Milk

was coming to get us. The hashbrowns

were fully sizzling, golden wads of chaos on

cheapskate Waffle House oil, that last

big supper I ate. Homer put it second best

when he claimed, “Everything is beautiful

because we are doomed.” First place,

of course, goes to the eggshell, glistening

in barren fullness, the best articulation

of physical desire mixed with perdition.

I am too young to be getting smaller, I’m told,

but that won’t stop me from shrinking. When

the milk cartel comes to execute me for slander,

I will disown this and all other poems, having

finally accomplished something genuine.

Abilene Rhapsody

Alive again

in the American Southwest

with friends

and a campfire

and a park full of needles,

we share songs that wrap

‘round the prickly pears,

Thinning over their shapes

like clouds

or the denim

on my knees,

worn pews.

Oh big sky,

they say

the tension’s between

ever-moving blood

and the dry bones

resisting it.

Oh, worn pews.

Oh, big sky.

Softer Living

Thinking of the mallard’s wings serrating

the sky, gray thread rippers on a cloudy cotton

hanging. My shoulders hurt pretty bad

because I can’t lift a boat properly, I really miss Victoria

right now. She’s got this coat so soft it feels something

close to feathers, adjacent to the kind of kindness I’d imagine

ducklings have before they’re grown up or shot or mauled by bears

or whatever. Soft as the wiry margin between eggshells and Peking

specials, basically. This is a poem about how I went boating on a Monday,

and felt generally pretty good, duck mortality aside, but right now I’m thumbing

my left earring, which got put in all slanty. It’s nearly funny that

30,000 Americans die in car crashes each year and I’m mad today

because my left earring is crooked from when an armed

teenager shot it askew. Victoria was there.

Ask her about it if you see her.

Lake of Fire

Opening and closing the door with some force

like the gasping gills of an upturned fish; put gently,

it’s hot as balls in here. Came down last night

from the mountains in blue-gray fog. Gunsmoke

of possible car-crashes, the headlight trajectories

of running down the slope, taillights swallowed in mist,

ein flammenwerfer extinguished. Like a soldier then, running

as artillery rock outcrops briefly explode into vision,

heading back to find some shelter, a beautiful trout longing

for the river, thrown back toward aqueous mercy to find

my fucking AC broke.

Too Much Fun

Beneath the lemon

drop sun, behind

the bar for tips, I wish

I could just swim

in Absolut Citron.

The young patrons

With snide

Hawaiian shirts

stumble and dance

between uninterested

parties while I hand out

shots: my knees will

ache for theirs

to give.

Augustus C. Grohmann is an interdisciplinary writer and MFA candidate at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Email them at

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