Two poems by Mitchell Grabois


They built their farmhouse over an underground stream
They didn’t know it was there
As the years passed the stream came closer to the surface
as if it were attracted to their warm life
until it finally broke through the ground
and widened
and created a small beach along the south wall of
the house’s foundation

My grandpa didn’t worry about whether the stream
would undermine his house
He didn’t worry about it swelling to a size of a river
and flooding his first floor

He declared that the stream was a gift
from God
and got out his fishing pole

He went down the old wooden stairs
The fish he caught were bigger
than the ones he used to get
at the lake

No one ever saw Grandpa in daylight again
except when he came out to dig
fat earthworms
behind the barn

—  Mitchell Grabois

* * *


My nine-year-old daughter
shot my seven-year-old son
with a hunting rifle
It was an accident

I went to the renegade preacher
down the road
One of his sons
also nine
backed a tractor over his brother
who was six
I figured this preacher would understand

I don’t mourn my son, he said
I celebrate his death
He’s with Jesus now
With Jesus
while we still struggle down here

My daughter went through school
silent and sullen
worrying every teacher
every counselor

Once a sweet child
she became a meth head

but her natural resilience
finally made her quit

She and her dealer tried something different
a revival of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

but radically scaled down
just the two of them

He was Buffalo Bill
She was Annie Oakley

—  Mitchell Grabois

* * *

Categories: Poetry