Thursday Nov 14

McKernan Llewellyn McKernan has a master's degree in creative writing from Brown University. She has lived in West Virginia longer than anywhere else and considers it her home. Three of her poetry books for adults have been published: Short and Simple Annals, Many Waters, and Llewellyn McKernan's Greatest Hits. She has received eleven writing grants, and her poems have appeared in thirty anthologies. Her work has also won seventy-five prizes in state, regional, and national writing contests.
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OLD PENCIL


 
Put away on a shelf,
with all of your buddies
silent as Buddhas—Don’t
 
worry. That wall, which 
is all you see, that tide of dust that
threatens to sweep you
 
under, that over-heated
chatter mincing words to atoms which
comes when too many books
 
get pressed too closely
together—this is just your way of
becoming visible. And
 
those toothmark wounds
on your skin, your desires erased to a nub
of longing for the warmth
 
of a hand, its bath of sweat,
your metal neck-brace squeezed so hard
(by you don’t know what)
 
that your leaden spine
stands straight up—Don’t you know
how all these things
 
echo solitude and
draw the silent lover, the lover of silence
to you, and 
 
to the bootblack
sugarbelly blues he writes in spite
of himself.
 
 


 
    ENCOUNTER


 
   Earth quickens under your hooves,
though they do not move. A button of sun
darts from the query of your nose
   to a temple that stains the air
 
   with its blaze of white antlers.
The radiant burn of your bronze flanks
is bunched and ready, so I grow still, and
   together we make of silence
   a silent place, like the quiver of a heart
 
   when a dream runs through it. Here
boxed-in spring bursts out of every
plucky bud and twig, each sally
 of a green knock-about breeze.
   
   You nibble leaf’s sun-starched
mantra, eye the blue blush of chicory, the
shadow that curls up at the feet of light.
   I discover the future of flight
 
   in a warm mother-croon nest, rimmed
like an old well by crumbs of pale green
lichen and brown leaf flakes. 
   A simple animal longing keeps
 
   us here: its fresh far-flung honey-
suckle solitude. Its wind-trembling
round-de-lay thickets. Its daddy-long-
   legs moving slow as a tear down a stem.