Peter Grandbois

A complete and perfect silence; Stick to intention; We are not separate: Peter Grandbois

A complete and perfect silence

I woke this morning
thinking I was a bird
but I was simply old

I walked to breakfast
carrying an ocean
but it was only
the prayers of the faithful

Regret is like snow—
it falls until we
are emptied of words

Better to touch
your hand
Better to bleed
in your house
Better to let
the lice suck
A new stitching
In the sky

When the darkness comes
I’d like a map to tell me
exactly where to stand


Stick to intention

That we dreamed of an eye
And the eye became a bird

That the bird dreamed of a raven
And twigs twined with string

That the string dreamed of wax
And wick to become a candle

That the candle dreamed of nothing
But morning slanting to ash

That the ash dreamed too many
Ages beneath a feathered sun

Until the last day when the lock
Clicks and we return home drunk

And dreaming of sleep, the slow
Seep of sand and grief, only

To wake again in the yard eyeing
The bird through shuttered lids

As it calls in a language
Of wind and solitude

And we turn away to pour
Another drink and wait for

The next moon, and try
To forget about why


We are not separate

When I was a boy I believed the unseen
threaded the air like a great spider’s web
and all I need do was climb up and through
into a cathedral of crows

a sacrament of forbidden moons.

Now, when I have a headache, I cover
my eyes and hide in bed like a banished
memory, and still I can’t rid myself
of the faces like ashes fluttering

from my misshapen mouth.

Even among those who think they are not
haunted, the silences we keep lap
at the shores of our lives. And so the facing
away from what no longer exists,

or what we no longer want to exist.

Why do we choose to miss so many things,
to wake each day and tumble through half-
forgotten moments sealed in jars or wrap
ourselves in words pulled from the body cellar

when all we need do is climb

the glistening god-threads woven about us
walk the wide water strung with voices
of vanishing gulls and

Peter Grandboisis the author of eleven books, the most recent of which is The Three-Legged World (published by Etruscan Press as Triptych with books by poets James McCorkle and Robert Miltner, 2020). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over one hundred journals. His plays have been nominated for several New York Innovative Theatre Awards and have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is poetry editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio. You can find him at