James Crizer


I will play the lonely farmer, throw posture out with the bones,
swallow all intent. Recall phonics, the forgotten definition of “hoe”

amid its hosts of three-letter methodology. Reach to clean a potato
as the handwritten letter falls limp and sops the wet counter.

Hold the tact stolen from my face in numb fingers
while some dirty grub spasms the muscles of my forearm.

In this newly stilled life, motivation turns deaf to the euphony
of nature—this spud, its synthesis with the other white meats

of earth. Clutch it and slowly adjust my grip as water muddies
the letter’s ink: love enters place, enters friends, enters…nothing.

Eyes fixate on the one potato in hand. Fingers tighten—
a tactical concerto—squeeze away the meaning of “hug.”


James Crizer studied theatre at Ole Miss and writing at Bowling Green. He lives northwest of Chicago where he works as an associate dean at College of Lake County. His poems appear in a variety of journals, including The Canary, New Orleans Review, Portland Review, The Pinch, and Washington Square.