Ars Poetica

by Christian Anton Gerard

I’ve been sulking around the house

wringing my hands inside my chest
like some old weatherman

certain the big storm’s coming today,

the one that’ll blow us all away
with whatever wrath you believe in.

If you ask me how I am, I’ll tell you

my recent life’s story, which is ridiculous.
Yesterday, for instance, I found a dead mole

in the driveway. Nice job, cat, I thought, then

remembered the star-nosed mole I caught
years ago. I put the mole in the plastic aquarium

I’d used to kill a Siamese fighting fish.

I gave the mole grass and leaves, some twigs
and watched him for two days. I named him

Frightful. I never saw him move,

except his little ribs heaving like a coal miner’s.
I pressed my face to the plastic, staring

into those mineshaft eyes. I was sure

he was scared of me, but I don’t remember
if I felt like God or like I thought God might feel.

I remember the body, though,

after I’d stared him to death,
how it bounced in the grass on the third day.

I remembered yesterday when I flicked that mole

with my shoe’s tip into the road, the traffic
like a life’s-full of guilt. What I carry

in my chest is never of my choosing,

so the stories I tell are always the same,
why my prayers keep begging for words

to let me rewrite my own endings, or

at least imagine the possibility, a sunrise
on the horizon I can’t see in the dark.

CHRISTIAN ANTON GERARD’s first book is Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech Communications, 2014). He has received Pushcart Prize nominations, scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. His recent poems appear in Redivider, Pank, Post Road, Smartish Pace, B-O-D-Y, and The Rumpus. He lives in Fort Smith, AR, with his wife and son, where he is an Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. He can be found on the web at