I have his bald spot, Wilmot said,
proof he was alive. Also means

he had to fight the cold. Maybe he asked
for a knitted hat or a coal delivery.

Maybe he and ma passed the winters
holed up like bears. Whatever

they were or did something
passed between. I don’t know Norwegian

but I’m proof they said things
that are only felt. Sometimes we

only pass the Triscuits. Sometimes we
say how nice is the cheese or movie.

Sometimes we make soup and
the soup is like a quilt, secret

stitched recipes. Quilts tell stories.
So do genes. Genes are how we carry

our pasts. Love makes us Aborigines.
I’ve painted my heart in a vernacular

you know. I am a slang you understand.
I’ve drawn pictures—fires in front of couples.

Pop’s in the dreaming place. I know
because it’s so easy to be cold and we’re not.

You know that heat in us? Like we live
in a cave? Fires keep those people.


Read more of Christian Anton Gerard’s poetry in apt‘s third print annual, now available for purchase.


Christian Anton Gerard has received four Pushcart Prize nominations, scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets prize. Some of his recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Redivider, The Collagist, Orion, Smartish Pace, Poetry East, Passages North, The Rumpus, and The Journal. He currently lives in Knoxville, TN, where he’s Editor of Grist: The Journal for Writers, the Nathalia Wright Research Assistant for Early Modern Studies, and an English Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee.

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