Two Poems by Gregory Stapp

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu…”

From the back yard we watch the storm burgeon
tonight, the flashes of lightning within the clouds.

It’s too bad there aren’t any ground strikes, you say.
They make it more exciting to watch. Give me

a sense of the power within. I nod and take your hand.
I know this about you, your desire for outward

displays of strength, chest-beating, sword-rattling, all
bark and bite and a savage gnashing of teeth.

The low rumbles of thunder resonate in the wind
and the clatter of leaves. We see more flashes of light

and you sit up to peer farther back into the storm, hold
your breath to wait for a bolt to crackle out of the clouds.

C’mon. Just give me a couple of lightning bolts. Is that
so much to ask?
I put my arm around your shoulder

with a Shhhh. I know you hate it when I do this,
try to quiet your tension. You slough off my arm and huff.

You stand, hands on your hips, and watch
the clouds move over us as if you hope a stroke

will lance out and blow us both back to our earlier days.
I guess it’s not going to happen, you say. And you go in.


The Patriot’s Act

“In many cases [the terrorists] are willing to commit suicide [for their cause] which I
don’t know how many of us [Americans] would be willing to do.”
– Alex Berenson

High from an old sycamore tree,
I will swing like a lynched man
twitching in the late summer breeze,
and hold sway over the evening,
my figure swollen, necrotic,
a cirrhotic liver strung up by its ligature.

Walking from school the children will learn
from my bulging eyes and fattened, gagging tongue
I did this for them, to protect them from terror.

Bound by morbid curiosity, they will strain
to read on the flag of my Old Navy shirt
my anthem, my creed, the words
My country ’tis of thee.




Gregory Stapp received his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. His poems have appeared in Outside In Literary and Travel Magazine, “ditch,” the Gutters and Alleyways anthology, Limehawk Journal, and Shot Glass, among others. He recently served as the Poetry Editor for Qu: A Literary Magazine.