Two Poems

Grant Tarbard

An Arm and a Leg

The girl with words for
a governor does her own
bookkeeping, sorting

all the consonants
and costly vowels into
two separate piles

and deducting them
from her tax, multiplying
them by vowels times

the difference squared
between nouns divided by
retching adjectives

over tea, and she
longs beats linguists to death,
deducting the words

used at work. “You have
a violation caused by
more than three haughty

sentences used in
one tax year. The ink is all
over your fingers.”


Duplicated Man

My body devours itself as my flesh
is holy, my blood is wine and incense,
a thurible that swings with the Moon-tide.
By increments I am losing myself,
thorn eyelids that I cannot close, spear pricks
in my pearl knitted fingertips. I do
not exist anymore, I am written
with the calligraphy of the Devil’s
hand. This man is torn like a page by a
word said in secrecy through a broken
window, a man captured in duplicate.
I remember being him ‘fore he was
played out, like a saxophone reed after
one too many notes has blown through its lungs.

Grant Tarbard has had work published in in many journals, including: The Black Light Engine Room, The Black Sheep Journal, Elbow Room, The Fat Damsel, Ginosko Literary Journal, The Golden Key, HARK, Miracle, Prole, The Rialto, The Seventh Quarry Southlight, and Zymbol. He is the author of the collection As I Was Pulled Under the Earth (Lapwing Publications), as well as the chapbook Yellow Wolf (Writing Knights Press). His third book, Loneliness is the Machine that Drives the World is forthcoming from Platypus Press.

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