Issue > Poetry
Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser is the author of four poetry books: Reckless Constellations (winner of the 2016 Cider Press Review Book Award), The Magician's Handbook (PS Books), Necessary Myths (Broadkill River Press) and The Trouble with Rivers (Foothills Publishing). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tar River Poetry and others. He also writes about electronics and teaches in the Rosemont College Writers' Studio.

Trouble Light


It came out whenever
things needed fixing,
when the dark
was a problem you could solve
with tools and anger,
like the station wagon broken down
in a Shop Rite parking lot
and I held the trouble light
all night, small generator
burning my calf
to keep the light glowing,
my father just a voice
under the car
shouting commands.
Or the night the dog
got his leg caught
in the sewer drain,
I held the light while
he cursed and greased the leg,
our dog howling in pain
as we pried him free.
In the shed it chased shadows
into corners, its safety cage
hot enough to burn spiderwebs.
Whenever trouble came
light followed it, harsh,
like spitting alcohol on a fire.
When he fought to jack a car
in the rain, twist a leaking pipe
or threaten the furnace
into heat—the light was there.
Every trouble patched or mended,
nailed down or replaced,
the revealing light of a buzzing
90 watt bulb, extension cord
trailing behind us, his light,
hanging in the shed, the garage,
keeping the dark cracks
from getting too large.

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