Three Poems by Chris Crittenden

Three Poems by Chris Crittenden
(Image courtesy of Chris Crittenden)

Three Poems 


Chris Crittenden



Shadowy Room


dark that pretends to be chairs,

and a father and mother

no longer dead,


and a sister much younger

though not anorexic,

and a brother

without his suicide.


faux hopes

that lack backbone,

aping memories:


imitations from the cerebellum’s

dime store.


they kiss odd stairs,

embrace splintery steps,

seek a corner in an attic

without height.


when the lamp clicks,

worry bounces off an inner white desert,

all shadows erased--


too fast to follow back to fake people,

or a home.



Drop of Water


it wasn’t as simple as she wanted,

ripe with transparent creatures,

each more cunning than the guile of the smallest itch.

it couldn’t be cut in half

though it could be parsed, and yet then you got

segments of competitors:

a rank glossy sphere of doom,

tragedy all over again.

it wasn’t like a pinch of sun

or a cc of dopamine.

it was a seed, all right, but cursed,

could eke out life in dunes

or a poisoned quagmire.

she wanted to drop it in the well

of her watery eyes, offer up

its furtive cyphers at

the altar of needy thoughts.

she was eager to, as a priest might fling

some terrible clue off a bridge.

she was underneath, looking up,

awed by its cold flood-birthed hang.

it wasn’t going to baptize her

or even sympathize.  this

codex of battling threads.

this eon-strong message

housed in relentless pulp.

it would die and come back

after impregnating a cloud.

after being lost beyond hope

in brackish froth.  it didn’t care

and never would.  it looked down at her

through a prism of late day,

surrounded by the lives and homes

its armies had destroyed.



Personal Identity


life was a blank sheet

for emotions cut into a chain

of paper dolls, the scissors

the click of the clock,

the dolls the selves that

were and would be,

shifting yet anchored,

long in a fragile clasp.


most of them

mostly dead already, or not yet born.

all of it a checkerspot

flitting in flower-

shaped cities, seeking the fires

of succulent sedative



she could hold hands

with the who of yesterday

or the person of tomorrow;

but only they knew the next,

and none could see the dizzy

parade that curved back around

to touch end to start.


if time bent, the current spot

was a nook on its arc;

and when the selves latched together,

quilting one great orb,

now was only a part of that great eye,

and saw almost nothing

of what was gazed at, worshipped,



Bio: Chris Crittenden teaches ethics for the University of Maine.  His full-length collection Jugularity was recently released by Stonesthrow Press, and he blogs as Owl Who Laughs.


Filed under: Prose/Poetry, Submissions

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