Poetry by Dan Kraines


Like a mouse,
I scurried and found it. I told

the doctor, more than half the days, yes,
but no, I have envisioned myself holding

a gun but, no, I think of the clear black
ice of the pond I skated on as a child.

I can almost peer into the backyard
and watch planes landing at Teterboro,

light glinting off of their wings
as they drop toward the neighbor's pines.

No appetite for food or sex, but calm
swimming in pool water, churning

one arm over the other, pushing waves
into the filter, against the tiles.




In Le Cirque, waiting for our food, circles
Of white tablecloths, rolled napkins, the building spiraling

Upward in circles, concentric circles, dizziness
Spiraling into the chandelier, the roof, the sky—

They protest against Israel because they hate us,
The world will always hate Jews,
my grandmother tells me.

Spiraling, undeniable logic of the survivor. All wrong.
Unrolled from the napkin, knives angled in at our plates.

My response?  I will never be a victim.
What the hell will it take to make you understand?  The bright lights

Invading my eyes spinning with the round tables, round
Trays, the crystal glasses catching the lights shining

Off of the knives, the curls of my grandmother’s silver hair
Bending in the light, the light catching her light blue eyes, bright

With her memory of escaping Europe in the hull of a ship, only
To arrive in Africa, huge Nazi flags hanging in the harbor.


Dan Kraines is a PhD student at the University of Rochester. Among other places, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Phantom Limb, Salmagundi, Blunderbuss, Two Peach, Gulf Stream, and The Saint Ann's Review.