Rob Griffith

Suburbia, 4 A.M.

Sleepless he sits beneath his darkened porchlight,
the lawn spread out before him like the sand
of some strange beach, and listens to the surf
in every summer tree. The eggshell moon,
declining now, is passed from branch to branch,
and shadows lengthen in the yard and street.
He asks himself what currents brought him here,
what life he’d live if this had changed, or that.
Those worlds abide. An onionskin away
their heartbeats flutter in this same warm dark
like moths in moonlight, and he can feel
the constant wash of days and nights unlived
against his shores. He wants to take a boat
and push out past the breakers. He’d raise a sail
and tack across the vast and trackless sea.
Slow Apocalypse
And so, that’s it. The kitchen light is dead,
the dog is fed and watered, and all the locks
are turned against the coming night. There’s time
to climb the stairs and open drapes, time
and light enough to read a final book–
but which?—and time to hold you close, this hush
more fit than words we’ve said before, more sweet
than any last gasp passion. We turn
to watch the tumbling sun and know that soon
the sky, a spangled blue-black rug, will roll
itself up, revealing graying boards beneath.
And the moon, wrapped in gauze and packed away,
will hoard its feeble light as you and I
lie side-by-side and listen to the world,
its mainspring winding down. The earth turns slowly,
as crickets cease, one by one, to sing.
We breathe into the empty house, our peace
complete, our joy a brief and fragile thing.

Rob Griffith is the author of four collections of poetry: A Matinee in Plato’s Cave, winner of the 2009 Best Book of Indiana Award; Poisoning Caesar; and Necessary Alchemy, winner of Middle Tennessee University’s Chapbook Prize. His most recent book is The Moon from Every Window (David Robert Books, 2011), and his work has also appeared in magazines and journals such as Poetry, First Things, River Styx, The North American Review, The Sewanee Theological Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Oxford American, among many others. He has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and has received numerous awards, including the ACM Literary Award for Poetry, The University of the South’s Tennessee Williams Scholarship for Poetry, Colgate University’s Chenango Valley Scholarship for Poetry, the Felix Christopher McKean Award for Poetry, and the Lily Peter Fellowship for Poetry. Professor Griffith received his B.A. from the University of Tennessee and his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas, and in 2005, Professor Griffith was awarded the University of Evansville’s Outstanding Professor Award. He is the Associate Director of the University of Evansville Press, the Director of the Harlaxton Summer Writing Program, and one of the founding co-editors of Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry.