Exchange

For peace,
she is willing to take a pill
every day
that will take away her pleasures
her poetry
her creativity
because it will also take away
want and wish
and turn love
into something benign,
undesired—
something she used to be capable of.






DeMaris
3-10-2022

Winter Warmth

Winter Warmth

The heavy snow
stops everything—
traffic
work
school
construction
lunch dates
birthday parties
doctor appointments
big plans
airplanes—
but the heavy snow
doesn’t stop your mind
from running
full speed
two years into the past
when you spent
a couple February nights
sliding into bed
beside a man
who loved you so much
you can still feel
his warmth
the heat
the residual burn
while you sit at the table
watching each flake fall
remembering
the way that love
fell apart
and accumulated
into something slippery
dangerous
without color—
something that looked
so beautiful
before it finally
melted away.

DeMaris
2-12-2022

Allegory of the Fence

It’s been two years
since the storm took down the tree
which broke off the top rail
of a six foot section of fence
that surrounds the large field
where the brown horse stands
in all weather
watching the birds and the mice
and roaming slowly along the perimeter
grazing on what it must know
is no better than what it could find
if it were to make what appears to be
an easy jump into some kind of freedom.

DeMaris
2-10-2022

Close-up of “Two Horses in a Meadow with a Fence” by Paulus Potter, 1649

Pill Bottle

Amber plastic
the color of sickness
white lid fixed in position
to keep its contents
out of the mouths of children
or anyone
without the ability to summon
a moment of herculean strength
to press twist release the prescription
into the open palm of a hand
that will deliver into the mouth
a remedy or a cure
or merely a temporary reprieve
from a pulsing pain
where the heart used to be.

In the Afterlife

In the Afterlife

Oh sure, life went on.
Sometimes, even often, it was beautiful.
There were curiosities explored,
facts accumulated into knowledge
of this or that—
interesting things, after all,
were the things he was always after.
There were days yellow as daffodils—
days so capacious
he worshipped all their possibilities—
and it made sense that after enough time
time took his mind off her.
But sometimes there was a song
playing on the radio in the car, unexpectedly,
or cutting into the moody air of a restaurant
when the bite was halfway to his mouth—
he would be transported
back to any number of memories
that brought her to life
brought her face into focus—
and even though he blames her
for almost everything,
what he did to her will forever
cause him to doubt his claims
to every interesting woman he meets
that he is a good and decent man.






DeMaris
1-19-2022

Brewpub Confessional

Anyone who saw him
would notice the care he took
at the mirror
would appreciate
the fine choice he lifted
from the hanger in his closet
would be aware
and maybe annoyed
by his appearance, his beauty
made finer by the gray in his hair
and to anyone watching him
at the table with his friend
in the loud bar, beer in hand
it would seem as though he had
everything in the world—
but that is what he lost
and he’s here to find forgiveness
from someone who isn’t his wife
or his lover—
reassurance he is still lovable
to someone who knows him
to someone who will know
by the end of the night
how many women it is possible
for one man to love.





DeMaris
1-16-2022

New Everything

New Everything

Knowing now the depth
of some mistakes he made
he said goodbye to the house
the dog the wife the child
made his way across town
to the new apartment
granite countertops
everything more modern
than what he left behind
even the couch inherited from a friend
is more comfortable
than the one he slept on for ten years
after his wife
found out about his first affair
but when she found out
about the new one
he decided it was only fair to move out
move on
because the last affair
wasn’t going to be the last affair
because he was the kind of man
who needed to get lost in the minutiae
of a new beautiful woman
every few years
after which boredom
turned his head like a lighthouse beam
toward someone more interesting
out there in the dark
and he’s sorry sometimes
he was made this way
sorry also
that he hadn’t found a better way to conceal
from his daughter
his impulses to prey on those of her gender
who weren’t much older
and for this he felt not enough shame
to keep him from trying to lure
the most captivating flesh he could find
into his new room onto his new bed
where he will give his temporary
undivided attention
to the youngest most beautiful girl
that will give him hers.






DeMaris
1-8-2022

Resolution

I don’t want to change
anything
about the way I am—
what I want to change
is the way I am not
quite fitting
into this world
that no longer contains you—
the world
that’s been emptied
of our collective joy and hope—
what I want is a new year
that will be without
languishing
longing
lamenting the loss of our love
that I am certain
would have lasted forever
if I hadn’t tried so hard
to save it.








DeMaris
1-1-2022

Legs

Legs

What a great fortune it is
that I have them—
strong able willing
to carry me miles at a time
through the woods
along the beach
down the sidewalk
into and out of
the grocery store
the museum
the theater—
they can run dance jump
kick lift bend
they are shaved
smooth
the color of sand
thick as pillars
the sad soft skin never firm
or close enough to the bones—
the knees
are pitiful undefined lumps
below loose puddles of thigh
sloshing onto the chair
squeezed into jeans
calves barely transitioning
into ankles
that hold up the structure
containing my brain
trained by social expectations
and magazine covers
to feel disgust
as great
as my earnest gratitude
for the pair
of aesthetically inferior
genetic miracles
that take me
wherever I need to go.

DeMaris
12-27-2021