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Still, Days


While I ate my oatmeal, I saw Hope on the milk carton.
What’s missing: hope, the milk carton.

I tried to write hope into a poem, but couldn’t.

The words scattered like iron filings anytime my hands
came near them. Everything has its own magnetic field
of sadness.

A friend told me there are mountains in Upstate New York
with no fossils, formed before life.

What feels impossible: time, to be stone-clean, to be

Today’s losses were the heaviest they’ve ever been.

I tried to punch pain’s ticket, let it leave through
clear trains down my cheeks, but it wouldn’t.

Still, days. Still days. I am full of pain & fossils.

I think I gave up a few lines ago, the poem on grief,
or was it hope?

I turn off the lights. The poem glows.

The Beginning of Love



As we walked down the dirt path,

he reached up & plucked a small fluff

of cloud from the sky, then popped it

in his mouth like cotton candy.

Want some? he said, pulling another.

How did you do that? I said.

I don’t know, he said. I was just hungry.

I knew right then the power he would have
over me.

His hands. His hands.

I couldn’t stop staring.

A Part of It



There is nothing a piece of carrot cake
              can’t fix, except
              climate change, except species dying.

Last night, I took out a big bag of waste
              & a squirrel with half an apple hanging
              from its mouth crawled atop the fence.

I tried to tell him it was probably
              poisoned, not like a fairytale,
              darker, human.

Liquid greed makes the skin shiny,
              but the squirrel couldn’t listen,
              couldn’t understand

how something a part of nature
              could harm him.

To walk out in the cool evening
              & feel alive.

To walk out in the cool evening
              & watch the green world moving.

To apologize.

To really mean it, but still Postmate
              the piece of carrot cake, then
              throw away its plastic.


Grant Chemidlin is a queer poet and currently an MFA candidate at Antioch University-Los Angeles. Recent work has been published or forthcoming in Quarterly West, Iron Horse Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and River Heron Review, among others.

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