J. P. Grasser


with a line by Justice

We ingest the photographs of a Tanzanian lake
           so reflective, so salty, that birds crash and bleed
underwater and are calcified, no ossified, and turn up
           as stone animals. We know the one about showing
Medusa the mirror. We have heard about avocados
           the size of seedless watermelons. Potential energy
stripped like dirty linen, the bed-sheets that were
           the very handkerchiefs of grief, wrapped tightly,
wrung and unwrung, pealed and repealed. You are petrified;
           so am I. That’s the toll. I will die, and you will still
be there, with birdy-bones reformed as pencil-lead
           and eyelids past rigor, in rictus, like a beak could
ever be a mouth.

J.P. Grasser is originally from Maryland. His work explores the diverse regions he has called home, most insistently his family’s fish hatchery in Brady, Nebraska. He studied English and Creative Writing at Sewanee: The University of the South and is currently an MFA student in poetry at Johns Hopkins University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Journal, Cream City Review, The Collagist, and Nashville Review, among others.