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Rae Gouirand

Rae Gouirand is the author of two books of poetry: Glass is Glass Water is Water (Spork Press, 2018) and Open Winter (Bellday Books, 2011), winner of the Bellday Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of California-Davis. 

By This Poet


California No

You say intimacy breathes.
I drop in.

I know the sexiest
sentence there is—the most

erotic. I know it
like I know the last moment

wants to draw us

If we could say it doesn’t go
plainly as that

knowing the most intimate
line there is

or I know

on so many occasions those
yes yes yeses almost

what they yesed—



Just as I move to sound the word
I start again, fall between the place

my mouth begins and the place
it makes something: the sudden here

synonymous with place and loss,
the dark world holding my body

differently. Every night I wake
at the point I try to speak

because I am trying to speak.
Because a sound breaks out.

There is no way to try a word
when silenced by it. The dark

outside will never show the inside
of my mouth back to me.

Losing that word over and over
is the same trouble as what

I carry. Maybe all lost things are
meanings beyond here and now.

Maybe there are no metaphors,
just what is true and what is true.

Blood and Stone

What if: stone is what
you get. A gun of stone. What if

the table beneath it were:
& the walls catching the sound. What

if no one knew: you were
around. If people came: from stone

& found only that.
What if stones were: deaf & mute

& cold. What could be
warmed. What word would you hurl.

At what would you point
your blood. Of what is a stone:

composed: what holds what
to itself. What is there to break it

& why when it goes does it
go only: to smaller ones. A stone

has no center but itself. It only
breaks; it does not change. It only

goes from one to many. Stones
always exist. Stones always exist.

Stones always exist. Stones
always exist. There is no way out of this.