Two Poems by Gregory Lawless

Locker

On the first day in September
you open the locker
and see inside some joker
from last year
has left a mirror there
with the word “loser”
written across your eyes
in black magic marker.
And seeing it now
makes it seem
suddenly inescapably
true, and
this witchdoctor
of the soul
is probably watching you
somewhere out of sight,
cackling into his fist
or coat—but, of course,
he had to write the word
across his own face first,
so you look around
for him now,
whoever he is, who
answers
to the same name
as you.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dig

I don’t know much about weapons
but my brother spent fifteen years lifting
weights in the basement hoping
one day he’d walk outside and his muscles
would explode
and destroy his enemies and loved ones
and everything
but his car and electric guitar. I don’t know much
about guitars but back then
I knew that death happened
right after you touched his Les Paul
so I kept my hands up
like a sleepwalker whenever
my brother’s things were near.
I got pretty good at never
around my brother
but he never complimented me
for not touching anything
he just seethed and that made me
sharp and so full of love
that I didn’t want
to disappoint him or his things
and I was just a human apology
at that point, so cosmically sorry I was
almost a saint. Holy shit, Kevin, my brother said
to me one time, pouring his fingers
into a fist, stop breathing
so loud, but my mother said
if we both lived
long enough we’d turn
into men who could share couches
and beers
and throw each other’s daughters
in the air
and he would slice open
birthday cakes, she thought, without thinking about
my body or my pudgy heart. Now my mother
is like a hotel at dusk
when all the blinds start to drop
but my brother can carry her
up and down the stairs
even though her death is heavy
and he can feel it
tearing through her like a can of soup
through a plastic bag. Now
he wants to dig a hole
inside himself and put our mother there
and everyone, he wants to cover us
with dirt, his dirt. And he’ll dig and dig
until we fit.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Read Two Poems by Gregory Lawless in Issue XV of InDigest

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregory Lawless Gregory Lawless

Gregory Lawless is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of I Thought I Was New Here (BlazeVOX Books). His work has either appeared in or is forthcoming from Artifice, Best of the Net 2007, Cider Press Review, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Gulf Stream, The National Poetry Review, Sonora Review, Third Coast, Zoland Poetry and others. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts with his wife, Jen, and his cat, Mr. Sparkles.

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