Tuesday May 21

KathleenKilcup Kathleen Kilcup’s poems have appeared in Pretty Owl, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Watershed Review, Bird’s Thumb, Saint Katherine’s Review, The Poet’s Billow, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the Atlantis Award and Pangea Prize in Poetry, and she has been nominated for both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award (poetry). She holds an MFA in Poetry from UC Riverside and is currently pursuing an MAR in Religion, Literature, and the Arts at Yale University.

A whole history is housed

A whole history is housed
in the thin nerves
of my teeth.
Would they could speak,
but my cheeks
are stuffed with yarrow,
the dirty taste
of iron.
A mouth full
of the confused look
of a girl
the world blows over.
Morning after
my mouth is thick
with memory,
with dust. What is left?
And what is left?
the rain,
sometimes the oak tree,
its brief light.
My jaw unhinging
at the ford.

Photo of my Grandmother

young and leaning against the white
bark of a tree I will someday walk beneath.
Black and white, like this—the progression
of time towards itself. Dappling her face
with light that rests against my shoulders.
Even as unaware as this moment is of itself,
she is not done with it, nor am I. We
curl towards one another
in the semaphore language of memory: smell
of cats and sand, her thin hands and endless
woolen shawl. Lady
living in the slant light of a summer evening,
dust and thin hair on the rise. Yes, the dead
are not. Salt-white clouds circling back
and back, resurfacing the sheen of leaves
with the knowledge of what has come,
is coming now.

Barefoot in Syria
after Carolyn Forché

Barefoot in the strange light of morning,
in the kitchen, eating cottage cheese.

Barefoot, as God commanded.
Barefoot as birds. Barefoot in Aleppo,

as, in the next room, bone dust mutes the strange light
of morning: fire burning without noise,

       white lupines of phosphorus.


       The moon is a pale eye
searching for someone
behind trees at dawn,
as though that obedient
child could be saved
by a staying hand. I
have not earned the right
to be cynical (where are
my white flowers?);
though in my dreams,
faces are removed and
sewn shut at the eyes.
This angel of history,
who is she? Walking, as
she must through ruins,
new grass, bones
of old gods, home after
crumpling home. Hoarse
from crying out, far-sighted,
feeling each century
through her feet.