A permanent home and museum for poets and poetry

“Charge” by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet

CHARGE by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet


Nine-volt coppertop. Stolen from the box under the counter
at my father’s store, dug in like a secret (like the cigarette

the summer before) under the oleander in the backyard.
Put it to my tongue, polar distance

collapsed to half, half again:                                sharp star

in its leap past physics, alkaline arc                  of toward.



(When the giant sacrifices himself for the boy)
(and on the screen

the men marching toward him      all the pieces
falling from his metal body
steaming in the snow)

When the giant sacrifices himself for the boy, the boy

at my side is lifted for a moment,

filled with air, the intake, the stop-
gasp held aloft, no sound:
the shock at the top of the arc, the drop—

and only then, on the way down, opens into sob: hard water
wrung from a knot. All the pieces

Small hot forehead pressed to my chest. Animal exposed in the storm.

Knows himself then, knows himself to want more.