The Problem

By: Grant Clauser

Featured art: Sketch for Beach Scene by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida

The town decided
that blowing up the body
was the best way to move it,
but the only explosives expert
was a groundskeeper
who’d planted mines in the war.
Still, people set up beach chairs
and umbrellas on the dune
to watch. When it blew,
slabs the size of picnic tables
crushed cars a quarter mile away.

One man was killed by a bone shard
through the heart.
Another still walks with a limp
from the impact of blubber.

For days the town pretended
this had all been the plan, everything
was good, but then under cover
of night, we rented front loaders
from the neighboring towns,
buried what we could and burned
the rest in smoky mounds
that choked us when the wind
blew in from the ocean.
The beach was unusable all summer.


Grant Clauser is the author of five books, most recently Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven (winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award) and Reckless Constellations (winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award). Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cortland Review, The Literary Review, Rattle, Poet Lore and others. He works as an editor also and teaches poetry classes at Rosemont College.

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