How do you take it? She says.
Clouds have rolled in, drawn thin
end to end like cotton panties
on high-tension wire. Below the sea
of non-native grasses is Lincoln,
then below alkali flats,
the lost golden tablets of Joseph Smith.
The continent is a diagram, creation
a myth sewn every year.

There’s always a part on the wing
that says No Step. Who would?
The jaw ligaments contract like pistons.
High example murmurs past engine noise
the color of distant thunder,
gets annexed by defeat,
and time zones connect each possible future
with a banker, a deposit, due credit,
and a microbrewed startup beer.
Just now something floods backward
toward the windpipe.
Layover. Subsonic. Here.

Grendel’s Mother

Where were you
when the Geats first took
to their ships,

icy and keen to sail,
when they burnt their
first king,

or offered their first
bride as a stitch
in the tribal

fabric? Did you squat
in the meres just outside
of each town

as it assembled, a bare
homunculus, waiting for
the fractional

drift of syntax from mead
hall to manuscript? Or
did you haunt

the reaches of what is
knowable simply because
your only relation

lived there, too?


The sun likes its gray
trek. A boat wake
frets the lakefront where
it wrenches against
slush but no sign of
the thing itself. Must be
upriver now. Then silence.
Not wanted here.
You can hear a heartbeat
skip like a record track
at the first sound of
a human voice. Something
about not being able to feel.
The impossibility of
connecting. Trappist
lodgepoles sweat
the last dregs of snow.
Spring so sharp every
breath is disbelief.
Swallow shadows arc
across the black hollow
of foothills to the east,
blending where the white
sweep bends down. Forgetting.

Guiseppe Getto is a Zen Buddhist, a poet, and an Associate Professor of Technical Communication at Mercer University. His first chapbook is Familiar History with Finishing Line Press. His individual poems can be found in journals such as Sugarhouse Review, Reed, Eclectica, and Harpur Palate, among many others. Visit him online at: