Two poems by Brian Rihlmann


Night’s Grace

a predawn Sunday morning

the beauty of the still slumbering city

her neon streets placid and empty

as the face of a woman

who drives you mad

when she’s awake

but at least you love

to watch her sleep

love to lie beside her

and listen to her breathe

when she is as far from you

as the stars, dreaming

and you tell yourself

that this means something

that this means anything

that this peaceful eggshell surface

swaddled in night’s grace

is thick enough

to bear your heaviness

through another day




Route 80


at work, I step out for a little break

behind the building

about a half mile away

is the interstate—route 80


a couple thousand miles east

and about forty years ago

a man came home late from work

he came through the door