D.G. Geis – Three Poems

D.G. Geis is the author of ‘Fire Sale’ (Tupelo Press/Leapfolio) and ‘Mockumentary’ (Main Street Rag). Most recently, his poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Fjords, Chiron, Skylight 47 (Ireland), A New Ulster Review (N. Ireland), Crannog Magazine (Ireland), The Moth, (Ireland), Into the Void, Psaltery and Lyre, The Kentucky Review, The Tishman Review, and The New Guard.
He was the winner of the 2017 Houghton and Emrys Prizes, and shortlisted for the 2017 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize. He lives in the Hill Country of Central Texas with frequent pit stops in Galveston and Dublin.


This sleight of hand
called life–

the wives
we make disappear

and children
we pull out of hats.

The parents who, over time,
we saw painlessly in half

and the complicated knots
that untie themselves.

The doves and serpents
pulled from Jehovah’s empty sleeve

to misdirect
the mischief of our making:

the compassion we feel
for a rag in the road

believing it to be
a squashed puppy.

Or the cock killed for Asclepius
to thank Houdini God,

our Chained Magician

in his locked box.


My theology is fuzzy,
but my hopes are high.

Perhaps I’ll see my old dog Biscuit
or chill with a friend or two.

And, wonder of wonders,
my headmistress ex-wife

will finally have
my undivided attention.

I’ll find out whether God
has a name stitched on His shirt,

or, as Undercover Boss,
mans a register behind the counter.

I’m hoping I’ll get credit
for all the times

I walked right up to the edge
and stopped—but who’s to say?

Maybe the Old Boy
will just shrug his shoulders and say:

“Your craziness is My craziness.”
And call it a day.

I have some questions for Socrates
and even a few for Jesus.

But if everything’s wrapped up,
there may be nothing left to talk about.

Down here on Goofball Earth,
it’s another story.

Tangoing through the void,
hobnobbing with the stars,

confusion only multiplies.
On this bright and zany planet,

we warm to darkness
like soulful Finns, whose apportioned lot

is to be both happy and suicidal

And so we bow down.
Not in gratitude or with heavy hearts,

but because in this vast Selfie of a universe,
we see ourselves in You.

Sometimes the dummy, sometimes the ventriloquist,
but made in Your image.

Which is, Dear Lord,
where all the trouble begins.

For A Child Dead From A Playground Fall

The unpacking of the mind’s eye
beside the Paw Patrol lunchbox.

Wisecracking tractor,
chatty dump truck.

The Hot Wheels idling
at a final pit stop

or raucous cop car
in full pursuit.

In the soul’s garage,
some batteries last forever.

The least vibration or slightest nudge,
and even the toys cry out;

an absence to make this presence mean
what Babar or Curious George

will never have the guts to say.
That grief’s unstuffing

can speak a kindergartener’s vernacular
with pain more fierce

than any high school mascot.
This world through the glassy eye

of a taxidermist or undertaker—
the thousand-yard stare

of a five-year-old’s teddy bear.




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