An Undergraduate Literary Journal from UW-Milwaukee


by Nicholas Gruber

There’s a prophet
on the corner
trying to grind a nickel
into a bus ride. HIs
syntax grips like surf wax &
the wood-tip cigarillo
hung off his lip

is no doubt
yesterday’s. A stranger
offers a light—it is too early
for a smoke, but the
acknowledgment cauterizes

the sermon bleeding
in the prophet’s throat.
Everyone is grateful
for a break from the eschatology.

A synapse clogged
in the lamp overhead—
its light wretches
like a dying fish until

the timer’s trigger fires,
though day is kindling
barely stoked. The glow’s
swift dissipation &
static clack of flint
get him going again.


Nicholas Gruber is an emerging poet and– hand to God– a human.