Little Fire by Jeff Graessley

For Celina

I’m tracing
her brown eyed gaze– softness
of bare flesh shoulders, ease
moist lips seek purchase, denied

her sweetness. my tongue would make
love across teeth

as we sit
side by side

in an overpriced Italian restaurant

filling up on free bread,
ten dollar bowls of soup–

and wine to give me the courage
to fail again. I’m tracing

her soft lips, begging contact,

as candle-bearers announce
the coming holiday
parading the sidewalks– little fires
against the chill of winter. she’s

lacing her fingers into mine, eyes
saying she needs more time,

tracing the valleys that scar my hands,

like an open book waiting to be read
or set on fire.


Jeffrey Graessley lives in La Puente, California. His work can be found in several magazines including New Myths, The Idiom, and Tears in the Fence. He is also the author of the forthcoming chapbooks Her Blue Dress from Silver Birch Press (2014), The Old Masters from Electric Windmill Press (2014), and Cabaret of Remembrance from Sweatshoppe Publications (2013). His recent discovery of the BEAT generation has prompted loving and longing thoughts for that simple, drunken, far-gone time in American history.