John Gosslee 


The elbows hang

below the knees

knuckles dust the carpet


the spine unravels

a long OH

from the clinched stomach


the lips curve


I sound like an ape


the acting coach says

everything but the intellect

is the body


the distance between the actors

on stage is a formula for longing


she takes his hand

coughs as if he is wearing cologne

she’s allergic to


the status decision of pretending to be the guy

who wears glasses, but forgets them

on the day of the bank heist and squints

builds the character from inside


I strain during the cold read

of the scene


find the funniest part of her face

that you’ve loved for years


status: he loves her and the child

worries about being caught for embezzlement

and overeats for years


to play the fat man

think of the heaviest part of your body

drag it around the room


the talk about being on television

is talk



the casting director’s camera

is at eye level

she takes note in the small book


find the saddest part of her face,

because you’ll see a lot of it

in the coming months

and then you’ll say goodbye forever


John Gosslee is an American poet. He is the editor of @FjordsReview and @PANKmagazine. He is also the director of @CRPress

Artwork by Bridget M