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A Poem by James Cihlar

A Poem by James Cihlar

Author: Poetry Editor

April 5, 2017

This week, a poem by James Cihlar.


Another Man’s Poison


It’s easier to move in the dark.
This black and white movie is brown and gray.
A triangle of dots means stars through a window.
A revolving spiral indicates fire in the hearth.
The doctor is an actor and an author.
Pull the drapes and the waves of the lake are the lines of a paragraph.
Fury has to have his exercise.
England is an island, but the moors cover the world.
This man is another man.
The real husband plays the fake husband.
Bette Davis plays Bette Davis.
Moonlight is her sunlight.
Her eyes are two white opals set in the sides of her head.
She fusses with the nimbus of her hair.
This woman’s not afraid.
This man has disgracefully long eyelashes.
She wants him. I want him.
While the young lovers talk downstairs, the old haters tussle upstairs.
When Bette gets mad, the camera gives us 360° of fury.
Pull the drapes and the waves of the lake are eyes moving across the page.
Rain is strings of light hanging down the windowpanes.
The sky is bands of brown and gray.
The rain outside the doorway is dots of light.
A pretty question deserves an ugly answer.


JAMES CIHLAR’s newest book, The Shadowgraph, is forthcoming from the University of New Mexico Press in 2019. He is the author of the poetry books Rancho Nostalgia (Dream Horse Press, 2013), Undoing (Little Pear Press, 2008), and the poetry chapbooks A Conversation with My Imaginary Daughter (Bloom, 2013), and Metaphysical Bailout (Pudding House, 2010). His writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, and Nimrod. His website is

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