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Charles K. Carter

My senile grandpa is dancing in his bathrobe

in the front yard, three lit sparklers in each hand.


A stray spark makes the dry prairie grass

glow orange and begin to smoke.


I roll my eyes and stamp it out with my sandal,

feeling the heat through the thinning rubber sole.


I take him by the elbow

and lead him back inside to safety.


C’mon, Gramps, I say.

It’s safer for us to smolder indoors.



Charles K. Carter (he/him) is a queer poet who currently lives in Oregon. He is the author of several books, including Read My Lips (David Robert Books) and Artificial Sweetness (Finishing Line Press). He is also the creator and host of the video podcast series #SundaySweetChats. He can be found on Instagram and Twitter @CKCpoetry.

Image Credit: Emma Grey Rose, "Patterns"

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