Glen Armstrong

The Great Oval Debate

There were beached stones
rubbed smooth by the tide

and muck between our toes.
I’m still not sure if I loved you,

or if conditions were such
that love just sort of came together
like a high-scoring word in Scrabble.

I was to my heart as an oval to a circle.

Though the day wasn’t perfect,
we wouldn’t see another as good.

Though you spoke of the ovals
as circles that had given up,

I thought of them as circles aroused.

We walked back to the beach house
to watch a marathon of werewolf movies,

anticipating the full moon
and gypsy incantations.

On the way, the charms on your ankle bracelet
made a noise that was almost a meaning:

Nudiustertian, nudiustertian or some such thing.
Nudiustertian, rang the metal.

I failed to use it in a sentence.
I could feel three days slipping away.


The Bedside Book of Immigration

As beautiful as jazz and mispronounced
street names

or a fair fight,

she climbs flights
of stairs

to check on her mother
who assures her in a thick
Czech accent

that she won’t be going
anywhere anytime soon.

Consider a body constantly singing but not loud
enough to wake
its neighbors.

A body that looks good
in a uniform.

A uniform as simple
as the emotions
it stirs are complex.




Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry NorthwestConduit and Cloudbank.