Two Poems

Darren C. Demaree

Monochrome photo of a worn leather armchair. There are wrinkles on the backrest and the seat cushion is lumpy and askew. The leather is worn down on the armrests. Behind the chair is a window and unfinished wood-frame (at the top) and brick (at the bottom) walls. The floor is unfinished wood planks. To the left of the chair, against the wall, is a toilet plunger.

Photo Credit: Will Nathan/Flickr (CC-by-nd)

On My 41st Birthday

I spent all day
bleeding from my right heel.

My mouth
was in the garden.
My something dark

wrapped around my torso
like a bandage meant to hold
the vital pieces

of my life firm,
like they could dervish away
from me at any moment,

like gone meant buried
like I was swept up
in the beginning,

so I only had mourning
the ending left.
Let these groans

be a revival!
My body still processes
joy, slowly.

I don’t sleep.
I cut my heel
while sweeping

the kitchen too quickly.
The children know
my blood is an invitation

to chase
& to be chased.
It’s all there

to be taken from me.
The world isn’t waiting.
I’m stripped. I’m living.


that damn blue leather chair

the mass is
on his spinal cord
& i am waiting
for the wood
on those
fucking armrests
to melt
like an iceberg
for the ornament
& beauty
to dissolve
into that torn
& treated flesh, died blue
before barley slumped into the ammonia of his own piss
& the vet could only offer two shots
& i could hold
his weight
as it became weight only
& that nightwork
of a chair watched me
crumple back
to the mornings
when i was too sick
with alcohol
to make it up the stairs
& barley came
for me
to follow him
on all fours
& i did every morning
until i found my legs again
& he smiled,
smiled at me
because i wasn’t dead
& now,
as i try to figure out
why i tore some leather
off that chair
with my teeth
i think about all the stairs still in front of me right now
& i get back on all fours again


Darren C. Demaree is the author of eighteen poetry collections, most recently the luxury (Glass Lyre, January 2023). He is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Best of the Net Anthology and the Managing Editor of Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. Twitter: @d_c_demaree

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