Two Poems

Poetry / Grace Gardiner


:: Sentence Diagramming: One-Night Stand ::

You tell me about eyes 
                                          my monstrous blue
          I want 
                    to look away & toward 
                                                     carpeted floor
                                                toward twinbed blooming under
the lights’
spindle-shaped bulbs
the circling
purr & fizz of the fan
your hands
your hands darling
stripping off this bed
before us
throw comforter topsheet
stripping off those clothes
mauve suit pants
buttons peppered down rayon
undertank striped white-hyacinth
& vein-blue
                                                 briefs shimmering
off you
Your hands
help me
strip me too
out of shift cami spandex
out of even my ankle socks
my body hurting still inside
the ropes
of its skin
my mind
with you
you stop
ever Will
you start
Touch your tongue to me
at the throat’s caving

Fill me

in the pit
you learn
then lift



:: Sentence Diagramming: Watching You Smoke ::


                                                                      The porch door’s windowed glass bites back against the light
the afternoon
the yard chartreuse
with sun:
so I can see you through
the green-
then yellow-bending blue
though I know
you won’t see me
don’t see how
I lock open my eyes
my lungs
as you draw between pointer finger
& thumb
the cocked cigarette
& blow out a thin cylinder of smoke
down-colored cone of breath
like a reverse gasp
through the small spooned curve
at your bottom lip.
Your mouth Os a damp ring
I’d like to slip
on each puckered part
of this bodys concentrated hum
its oxygen-rich
filter of blood
my own hot



From the writer


:: Account ::

In her poem “Poet­ic Sub­jects,” Rebec­ca Lin­den­berg writes: “Some­where between the sayable and the unsayable, poet­ry runs. Anti­dote to the riv­er of for­get­ting.” Ever since encoun­ter­ing these lines, they have become both a mantra and an affir­ma­tion of my own poet­ic prac­tice.  

In a recent con­ver­sa­tion with a dear friend and poet, I said that, while I may be “some­where between” an extro­vert and intro­vert, I tend always towards exter­nal­iza­tion: I am an exter­nal­iz­er, and poet­ry is the mech­a­nism by which I exter­nal­ize and plumb what is “sayable” and “unsayable.” Stressed, play­ful, and shift­ing syn­tax that is hinged to and unhinges the line is my num­ber one craft tool of choice to (un)lock what I can and can­not com­mu­ni­cate about: sex and grief, trau­ma and desire, pain and ecsta­sy.  

In these poems inves­ti­gat­ing the pris­mat­ic threshold(s) of sex and desire, syn­tax, cou­pled with both sound- and word­play, is the divin­ing rod I thrust over the body to seek out what is buried and bur­bling beneath: what can and cannot—what will or will not—rise to the poem’s surface. 


Grace Gar­diner is a British-Amer­i­can non-bina­ry poet and bur­geon­ing inter­me­dia instal­la­tion artist. They’re cur­rent­ly pur­su­ing a PhD in Cre­ative Writ­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri, Colum­bia, where they live with their part­ner, the poet Eric Mor­ris-Pusey; their eel hound, Gem­ma Ray; and one too many brown reclus­es. Find them online at