Peter Grandbois

This hungry map

“Every sensitive person carries in himself old cities enclosed by ancient walls”

—Robert Walser (1878-1956)


Inside, no room for breath.

And a muddy field everywhere

By what mouth do I leave this city

What voice will scale this fearful

How to answer the question

This maze of rooms

This endless hall of regrets

Into tiny rivulets that bloom

Through the long darkness

Think how to unfold

How to imagine an other

Where we could conjure

This armada of doors like arms

Outside, the unforgiving paths of rain,

around me.

when the day is a distance I cannot cross?

tower when each translation gets lost?

of the body’s walls,

made from crippled echoes,

where solitude drips

into a river flowing

between our shadows.

this hungry map,

tangled world

a battering ram to storm

and open.




Peter Grandbois is the author of ten books, the most recent of which is half-burnt (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over one hundred journals. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is the Poetry Editor for Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.


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