Yesterday, I crushed them

and smeared their brief light

across my cheeks: glowing war paint

for twilight battles fought house to house

until the porch light called me home.


Today, barefoot in the grass, I wait alone

for dusk’s dissolve and their arrival,

those gentle lantern-bearers guiding

the grateful summer night’s retinue

from yard

to yard

to yard.

Kevin Grauke has published work in such places as The Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, StoryQuarterly, Fiction, and Quarterly West. He is also the author of Shadows of Men (Queen’s Ferry), winner of the Steven Turner Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. He’s a contributing editor at Story, and he teaches at La Salle University in Philadelphia.