Relief; Doll; Anchor

Robert Krantz



Rain doesn’t bother us

as it did at Houghton,

where we stood in fat mud

and built makeshift vows

with flame and stake,

ferreted out weed

and stone before taking

inevitable steps

into mercurial waters.

I color your eyes black

and shape your lips

into a smile, every drag

of cigarette turns the trodden arc

into an O—”I’m not a doll,”

you say. Once again we stand

at our slate pallet, fluff our brushes, 

and splash painted questions

against the Braille night sky.

In Autumn, the red maples burn

like tongues of fire, speak wise words

to the middle-aged and weary.

You write gauzy ink goodbyes

in sunken letters,

chiseled like an epitaph

into this granite heart.






When we argue, 

your porcelain mouth

moves like a puppet,

speaks waves of riddles

and madness, glassy blue eyes

sparking flint to fire. 

I’ve cobbled this January mask

to look both ways 

toward your scarecrow hair

and back at spires of firs

and quiet lakes. 

Still, you prick me

with bone-white fingers

saying,  “here!” 

and “hear!”

After, while you are sleeping

I search for threads, 

loose and frayed

at your wrists and toes,

cords that coil 

like silk strands—

our masters pull us 

loose like teeth, 

leave us face-up and stuck 

between open and closed—

your ink eyelashes 

smudge hungry notes

on flitting lids 






We consider the moon 

personally, halving the miles

between it and us

through scoped portholes


and bedtime prayers. 

So what if we can’t discern

the Fates from the Furies 

even as they tug our sheets 


while we dream electric dreams. 

We all have dings and dents 

where we want them least,

and launch these iron anchors


into tempestuous waters—

currents that sweep 

us off the edge  

of the world, 


toward the end 

of all things





Robert T. Krantz is a poet and writer residing in southeast Michigan. He studied at Niagara County Community College, The University of Akron and the University of Arkansas. Since 2013, Robert has published several chapbooks and been featured in many literary journals, including Hamilton Arts and Letters, Antiphon, Grasslimb and the Pittsburgh Poetry Review.
Robert works in industrial sales in the Midwest and is father to one daughter who has recently started writing poetry.

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