Dark Lady Poetry - Grace Curtis




Grace Curtis





Merrill’s Cup                            

for Joey



How can I take you into the deepest part—

the place we have longed to inhabit—if we

can’t lay light-enough fingers onto

the tear drop of the Ouija Board, onto Merrill’s

cup, cannot scribble unblinking ‘til dawn and

pull spleens through navels or revel in the dazzle 


of chemistry, what value, gods?  What is

the depth, in meters, of that which we seek

and where does it lie—in the deepest or, rather

in the reeds of shallows? Isn’t our life

simply put, just laundry and bills?  I once

compared an empty nest in the crab apple tree 


out front—the dirty, clay-glued nest of an angry

robin—to a chipped tea pot on a shelf,

my life work to the tide, you

to a seeker of numbers, divining

saints in the curves of their holiness. How I,

no, how we long to touch it; how we  


experiment, kissing lamp posts and blades

of grass, groping.  Some people’s search

is a headfirst dive into the shallow end

and rightly so. Better perhaps, than drinking

the river one flute-full at a time.  






A Tropical Fruit



Zero degree Fahrenheit—and

it’s snowing in another language

ganik, big, feather-light, pulverized

white frost and I am the official, unofficial

idiot in a snowstorm.  All around me are

pests, viruses, parasites placing stress

on my dear-bought comfort.  There is

no mitten protection here where I

am both docent and tour guide,

doing what others swear by.  Heat

is blocked by walls of metal, aluminum

alloys, unflattering social parallels

notwithstanding. You can sneak

behind enemy lines, destroy

bridges, crawl through swamps but,

I dream of simply walking away,

away from the cold, the snow,

the pestilence, perhaps to Tuscany,

with its beautiful landscapes, bookish

draw, like a painting, the place that

should mean something different

than the place I longed to see so long

ago, my renaissance.  Now, I only dream

of seamless panty hose, and tropical

fruit, of the time we waited for the time

we’d say, “Where is the Wall?”  in

a city of a thousand minarets with

its Paris-inspired maidans and avenues.

I long to be there, amid the normalizing

words, worlds, the meanings and systematic

aberrations, where we amass power

by simply being and not by being

something. I long to be

in the place of, at-will, sets

and resets, ignoring thick black lines

of minds, of maps that only give the illusion

of stasis, where there is

no repercussion for a choice that makes

you happy, where each sinker

and hook is cut away.  






Olbers’ Paradox




It’s an important observation—the night

sky is black. If space is infinite, then

every point in the sky must eventually

point to a star. The universe, not infinitely

big, not infinitely old, must end

at the edge of the yard, proof that

a river stops at its bend, that black

does not evade but absorb,

that gray is immersion leaning toward

the reflection of everything, that a heart

yearns for what it thinks

it leans toward. Someone

once said to me, Gracie, all your answers

are inside of you, knowledge leaning toward

ignorance. What is left depends upon

what reflects, what photons are taken in, what

photons are reflected back. If you combine

red, green and blue crayons

you have black leaning toward night,

each color sharing equally in the argument

against infinity.





Grace Curtis is a full-time student in Ashland University’s low-residency MFA program, and is employed full-time with a health system in Dayton, Ohio. Her poetry has appeared in The Chaffin Journal, Waccamaw Literary Journal, Common Threads, Clockwise Cat, and others. She is the winner of the 2009 Shape in a Misshapen World Poetry Contest.