Friday, December 19, 2014

Cristine A. Gruber- Three Poems


One rarely knows
the exact moment
when shifts take place,
when one goes from being
tentative to certain,
from hesitant to sure,
from cautious to open,
completely convinced
of knowing another
as well as one knows oneself. 

An empty bottle removed,
a full one to take its place. 
A jacket retrieved,
a hat handed over. 
Which side to sit on,
who will hold the remote.

Familiarity grows,
day by day,
into full understanding
of what another is thinking,
complete comprehension
of what another needs,
moving along assuredly
without word or doubt...

…until that critical moment,
when misjudgment takes place.


The aroma
of oatmeal cookies
always produced
memories of his mama,
just as the sight
of chewing tobacco
instantly caused him
to recall his daddy.

And the fragrance
of Avon cologne
made him think of her,
though he’d never known
the name of the perfume
in the yellow bottle,
never asked.   

Just as a scent
can bring back
an old memory,
or an image
can flood the heart
with sentiment
thought long-forgotten,
so too a word or phrase,
significantly placed,
can transport one
back to that moment in time
when all the earth quaked,
trembling to its very core.   

A tight hand grips the bottle,
no space between skin and label,
no light between clenched fingers,
knuckles white, nails blue,
scars prominent across weathered skin,
failings exposed for all to see.

The amber liquid burns as fire,
scorching body and soul
with its pervading fever,
rotting limbs, searing spirit... 

but the fervor of the whiskey
remains but a flicker
to the dominance
of the inferno blazing within,
sense and sagacity
mere blackened coals. 

Reason grows still,
discernment distant,
judgment dormant,
yet the battle rages on
inside his head. 

Closing his eyes,
he tips the bottle,
drinks hard,
drowns heart.  

Cristine A. Gruber, a Southern California native, is a registered caregiver as well as a widely-published poet. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, California Quarterly, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Leaves of Ink, Miller’s Pond, Napalm and Novocain, The Penwood Review, The Poet’s Haven, Pound of Flash, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, The Tule Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, and The Write Place at the Write Time. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, is available from More of Cristine's work can be found and enjoyed at

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