Poetry by Karis Granberg-Michaelson


This is a
smart poem
as certain

bombs are
smart. This
poem knows

where to land.
This poem will
not mutilate

the hands of
children, blow
arms from their

This poem is

Forget it.
of national

please, baby, please, stay

on target. But I
can’t promise
when I kiss you

my eyes won’t
bulge, a survivor
sucking the air,

mess of ash, ass-
backwards, alive.
This poem will kill

the right people.

Pantoum for the Hovering Heart

“Dread,” she said, “is delicate.”
Awkward artistry turns the hand
to musk a bed now maculate;
the heart takes long to land.

Awkward artistry turns the hand.
Eyes, shy, ask another to lie
whose heart takes long to land
in the silk of shaded sighs.

Eyes, shy, ask another to lie
shirtless, heaven-faced, anxious.
In the silk of shaded sighs,
the ties that bind are curious.

Shirtless, heaven-faced, anxious
musk in a bed now maculate.
“The ties that bind are curious.
And dread,” she said, “is delicate.”

Karis Granberg-Michaelson studies creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She is a recipient of the St. Lawrence University Prize for Young Writers. Her poem, “This mouth,” placed third in the 2006 Conference on Christianity and Literature’s [National] Student Writing Contest.