There is No Word (after Tony Hoagland)

Author | Catherine Grossman

There is no word for the gap
the can opener’s rusty wheel makes
when it rolls over instead of through the tin

leaving a connection a quarter inch long.
I squeeze tighter, turn
the handle and hope

the wheel cuts deeper,
unsure where fault lies.
The wheel is sharp enough

the can is perfect and so
if only . . . have I lost
perspective like a drawing

without a horizon line
to make sense of a road
lined with telephone poles.

This is what happens when we try
to open a can to add to our dinner:
these small impossible

lengths of attachment
keeping together
what we both want to open.

No matter that the opener fails,
I rinse it off and return it to the middle drawer.
The next time you call

wanting something to eat
I’ll reach for it and think:
if only I squeeze a little tighter.


About the Author | Catherine Grossman is a member emeritus of the Women’s Creative Writing Group, a recipient of a Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award and a graduate of Warren Wilson MFA Program for writers. Some of her poems can be found in Indiana in the Tipton Review and Flying Island. She teaches writing at Ivy Tech Community College.