“Reach” – Poetry by Tom Stephan

Nudes in Dunes - Otto Mueller, 1920
Nudes in Dunes – Otto Mueller, 1920

A cloud of “unspoken violence” hangs in the air above Tom Stephan‘s “Reach,” a poem which resides in that alluring and mysterious locale known as the hotel room. “Reach” is just one of 19 very flappery works of literature that you can read in our Spring 2014 Issue, now on sale for 3 measly American dollars.

{ X }

I REACH ACROSS THE BED
And keep reaching
Sheets like virgin dunes
To where you should have been on the shore I could not see.

The hum of guitar strings
Or violins
Or sympathetic sitars
with a bit of wounded care
I strain across vastness and you are never there.

Is there some key that unlocks you?
In the golden light of cheap curtains
In plastic hotels and crunchy pillows
Some hidden lever to move our lives together?

I packed the room today
Sat at the edge of the bed
Listened to the shower drone overlong.
And you are naked and wet, and at my side, saying are you ready—

Yes, I’m ready.

The air is thick
Industrial cleaner and bleach
And unspoken violence
You dress for the execution; I will fire point blank into your heart.

We toss the keycards on the floor
and shut the door behind us.

 { X }

tomstephanTOM STEPHAN is a Texas native who has spent a little time being a bit of everything: teacher, actor, playwright, writer, traveler. When he’s not doing any of those things he’s living in Austin and eating well. He has a BA in English, an MFA in Acting and has a curious collection of hats and suspenders. 

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