Sam Ross | Two Poems


Did I fill my mouth with salt?
Did I equate night and affinity?
Were there two lampposts in the forest?

Did I need to be right

or did I dare abandon? What bewilders
a compass? What good is

a life spent tracing the light
on friends’ faces fading in the street?

When a lover asks you
to wash your feet before bed

will you sleep? Imagine clotheslines?
Weren’t the lakes north of here

named after
who had drowned in them?


I have tried to do no harm
but sparks fall from an overpass

under night construction
into the lights of cars. It goes on:

for now, for good, forever.
In this heat what wouldn’t I steal

for ten seconds of kissing? Once
drove through Arizona made blue

by unusual rain.
After cruelty
a stranger said to me:

I’m only one
in a world filled with it.