Things They Say


Someday itíll be you, trapped

inside rows and rows

of cornstalks. Youíll be the one

cautioned about razor husks Ė

donít touch, donít you ever.


Cars are passing. You see

flashes of color.

Those are nothing, they tell you, just

animals lurking at the perimeter.

Youíre safe here with us.

Why donít you stay? There are stories


some nights of a man who

made it through the cornstalks, past

the circling beasts. He went

as far as anyone could, they say, and ended

with a belly full of blackness

and a bloody, filthy, mouth. Thatís all.

Thatís all he ever found.

The Pitfalls of Scottish Ancestry


Radiators start creaking.

I slip into a wool sweater

and boil roasts for hours. At once,

all the windows frost over.


The place is filling with blue steam,

staining the walls, and soon the roomís

a swimming pool, then itís a sea,


and soon itís a new sort of home.

Thereís so much wrinkling and

lung strain, but itís not

terribly lonely. Still,


Iíll grow some dolphins, then

Japanese fishermen will move in

with coy country daughters.


Iíll be the mystery. Me and my

secrets snickering behind delicate hands. 

They canít keep their eyes off


inch-wide pores, canít not wonder

about the ruddy bramble of pubis,

my traditional, spineless, grace.


Tim Greenup grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, but currently lives in Eastern Washington, where he's pursuing his MFA. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Redivider and Strange Machine.