by Rob Griffith


Daughter, at times like these, when all the light
that’s left is fish-kill gray; when cities lean
in tumbled, blackened piles, their shattered heights
pulled down by bombs and fire; when refugees

form lines at every border, the children chilled
by fear and grief, their parents eyeing fences;
when oceans rise and pipelines burst, I’m filled
with dreams as dark and still as a poisoned well.

But often in this gloom, I imagine you,
long grown, standing in a field of gold.
Your back is straight, rigid as a pew
in church, your clear eyes fixed on the horizon.

There, in roiling clouds that eat the day,
the world’s malevolence and hate, its pain
and discord shroud the sky.  And yet you stay,
unbowed and brave in this bitter storm-light.

Behind you in the dust, I sit and write
a chronicle of these baffling hurts.  I hope
to eat the sin, to keep you safe at night.


Rob Griffith’s latest book, The Moon from Every Window (David Robert Books, 2011), was nominated for the 2013 Poets’ Prize; and his previous book, A Matinee in Plato’s Cave, was the winner of the 2009 Best Book of Indiana Award.  His work has appeared in PN Review, Poetry, The North American Review, Poems & Plays, The Oxford American, and many others. He is the editor of the journal Measure and is chair of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Evansville, Indiana.

Back to Vol. II: “Surface”