Two Poems by Clint Margrave

Heart Failure

Tonight in bed
reading a book of Williams Matthews’s poems
and noticing
the short dates of his life
only 55,
not much older
than I am now.

Maybe poets have weaker hearts
than other people.

Larry Levis
Allen Ginsberg
Robert Lowell
Emily Dickinson

And even when
it isn’t heart failure
it’s usually some other attack on the heart,
failed love, disappointment, depression

Berryman, Plath, Crane

Weldon Kees disappearing
by the Golden Gate Bridge,
that foggy day in San Francisco,
the keys still in his car’s ignition.

Maybe heart failure is too perfect a metaphor
since every poet knows
the importance of a good end.

Maxine Kumin says
you should think of it
like closing a door

that it might
involve stepping away from your subject.

She was the last person to see
Anne Sexton alive.


My Neighborhood Little Free Library

I find a copy of Jack Gilbert’s The Great Fires
in the stacks
among the worn romance novels
and self-help titles,
and wonder who would leave it.

Inside, a reminder card
for a past due doctor’s appointment
stuck between pages,
next to the lines,

“Love is not/ enough. We die and are put in earth forever/
We should insist while there is still time”

Take a book or leave a book,
the sign says.

I take it.


Clint Margrave is the author of several books of fiction and poetry, including Lying Bastard, Salute the Wreckage, The Early Death of Men, and most recently, Visitor. His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Rattle, The Moth, Ambit, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among others.

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