Robert Crisp

Final Scene


If the film unspools while you’re watching,
make evacuation plans immediately
for the smallest among us, the celluloid

children who know nothing of black
and white or soundless images,
only beehives of noise and cavalcades

of blue and green, splashes of maroon
and luminous oranges and yellow flashes
that make eye teeth ache and chatter.

Take these precious orphans and find
them shelter in darkened houses.
The rest of us will die in the light.




They believed they both had treasure,

so they dug in, using rib-spreaders
on each other to pry back bone.

Instead of gold, the found doors.
Like mirror images, their hands reached
toward the other and turned handles,

and they stepped in, going deeper
and deeper still until they forgot
where they were and where they were going.


Necromantic Basket Weaving


Cane and reed sail in the craft room,
off limits to him, the kids, even the dog
since she quietly expired, leaving
her weaving supplies to no one.

She still works at a frenzied pace,
her ghost beyond the binds of time.
They hear her mostly during the day,
the clang of anvil pruning shears
against wood-handled awls.

At night, when the kids fall asleep,
she roams the house, smelling
of sweat, tung oil, and urethane.
Out of habit, he reaches for her,
but she pulls away, gripping
her bushel handle instead.


Olympian Love Affair


The tide is in, she said, so let’s get to drowning.
I took her seriously, as always–
doing differently always spelled infinite destruction.
It’s not always easy loving a goddess, Zeus told me,
and he should know, given his bloody history.

I knew better than to take a breath, but I still did.
She winked at me, starlight fading around her face.
I jumped first, just to show her I loved her.
She followed like a flare, dousing in the water
that closed over our heads and beckoned us down.


The Girl in Room 12


When the flashes went off,
she figured they were taking
pictures of her insides again,
lighting up her skull, streaks
of speckled white and egg-yellow,
her intestines, the curled horn
of her odd brain stem, all to be processed
and delivered from her mouth,
an organic Polaroid, to the men
in deadly jackets with skull buttons
and blood-flooded mustaches, eyes black
as pools where mermaids come to drown,
rubbing their hands together, making
hot, anxious sounds with their mouths
and pleading to a deaf god to finally
give up the girl, give her over at last
to a world rife with hate disguised
as friendship, as caring, as love in full bloom.







Robert Crisp lives in Savannah, GA, where he teaches, writes poetry, and suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as best he can.

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