Mitch Grabois



Exiled Twice

I was twice exiled,
first from a tropical paradise
where bougainvillea vines
and Poinciana trees blazed

and escaped iguanas
made a commune on my front porch
I fed them slices of banana from my palm
and regularly refilled the shot glasses I left on the rail
with iguana adult beverages, namely water with lime

The goldenrod of my new, Midwestern home made my head swell
Wasps stung me in the face when I entered the barn
and, holding my spray can of poison, I couldnít find their nests
maybe high up in the eaves
or hidden somewhere in the hay mow

But the expansive fields of corn and soybeans were a kind of meditation
and the deer and I soon agreed that I would not shoot at them if
they did not shoot at me

Then the industrial turbines were built
over our protests
By then I was a member of the community, sort of,
though my cousins kept their distance
and when I was walking on the road
and they drove by in their vans or pick-ups, they wore sneers

The turbine blades sliced the air
to say that
is metaphorical
but why did I start finding streaks of blood
on the floor of my front porch?
I had recently scraped it and painted it glossy grey
and the blood was vivid against it

Then, as in a horror film
the streaks became small pools,
scattered across the porch floor like grisly polka dots

Hypotheses straggled across my mind
Had animals been fighting there?
Possums vs. Racoons?
Iíd never heard of that, but I was a city boy
What did I know?

I didnít want to ask any of my neighbors:
Do animals stage nocturnal, interspecies brawls
like in a scene from Fight Club?

Eventually it became too much
and I took to the road
Now the Front Range rises before me like a mirage
as if I were a Spanish pilgrim on the trail

But I have no faith so I canít be a pilgrim
Iím merely homeless
like so many others,
like the refugees of the Dust Bowl

I will write you when I settle somewhere,
if I do


Copyright © 2012 Mitch Grabois

Mitch Graboisí poetry and short fiction has appeared (or will appear) in over seventy literary magazines, most recently The Examined Life, Memoir Journal, and Out of Our.

He was born in the Bronx and now lives in Denver.