Mongrel; Splendor; Postage Rate

Tyler Grant



You’ve never met a more perfect candidate for a lobotomy

than I, etherized upon the altar to the imaginative, for I hear

thunderous applause when I do the mundane. The pregnant

anxiety of a thousand eyes when I take center stage –

My madness knows no brevity.

It’s not vanity. Don’t believe me vain – call me consumed.

Locked in a sepulcher for my world’s undoing,

        I have never been able to afford what I need from pharmacies.

Debts I have begun to rename Spot, like a Dalmatian

from the 60s. He follows me everywhere. The grave waits.

Most weekends I play chess with Deroy in Madison Square Park,

        He doesn’t even take my money any more.

He’s a gamesman in that way. But, for me it has all the fun of gambling

without the stress of winning, a compulsion with all the predictability of a prodigal

son leaving again to the bus station. The bishop with a broadsword

slits the throat of my queen in the firelight.

Don’t worry, the IV is already in and drips.






Brilliance of ten thousand tiny flames licking atop

Limbs of a Norway spruce


Third pew at Ebenezer Baptist, a pause in the preacher’s

Sermon for an elderly lavender hat to utter “Hallelujah”

Chorus that echoes with building crescendo


Into Taroko Gorge beyond where tourists feel

Safe, teal blue water cuts boulders in the shadow of a

Shrine to volcanic rock


Undergirding his NICU cradle with pink and blue swaddle,

Preemie eyes possess the same coral lightening

Hereditary in the right eye of the men in our family


Tree-tops mirroring a golden hour across Shenandoah

Earth’s revolution passing over the Blue Ridge like the

Hand of God blessing the coming evening


Rituals that make the eyes firework, blood roil,

Lump forms in our throat

When our minds tilt just over the threshold of





Postage Rate


Mulling over a sentence that never

sounds quite right while biting


a ballpoint pen until the ink capsule

cracks and drips down my chin.


The pen becomes a dead squid or rotten

tomato in my mouth. The black residue on


my lips makes the licking the back of an

envelope seem like marking a roadmap


across letter after letter, all parts of a whole.

Until, my tongue dries up and bleeds.


But then, this too, is a correspondence –

a crimson and black banner to mark my need


to tell you what can only be put on paper.

Bubbling scabs of thought I pick at


because the fresh air on flesh

begins to feel like breathing.





Tyler Grant is a lawyer and writer in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured in USA Today, The Hill, and National Review, among others. He is a graduate of University of Virginia School of Law and Washington and Lee University.