Today's poem is by Kristin Kelly
Sea to Sea, Shining
They are giving birth control to squirrels in Santa Monica,
the homeless capital of the world.
The world's tallest man puts his world's tallest arms in
the throats of two dolphins and pulls.
A girl sits in her living room for five weeks with hiccups.
News reporters, talk show hosts, cameramen.
She stops. They stop. Then she starts up again.
I am driving across the Mississippi on a bridge the color
of old denim. It's early, the sun is barely,
fog lights are on. All but one.
When Picasso was asked to illustrate a fairy tale,
he drew a man with a buffalo's head and
a buffalo's body. I knew he was a man
because of the way he wanted to eat her, but couldn't.
Someone is dead, so is her son, and no one can decide
where to bury her. I watch the footage on tv. Everyone is
cryingboyfriend, hairdresser, even the judge.
On the science segment of a radio broadcast, I learn
that time-travel has more to do with
loss than math. A man loses his father.
We aren't supposed to count backwards.
Last night I stood in the park a tornado clipped a year ago.
My raincoat against your arm, people around us
like buildings. Others like cities, rising up.
On the front page of the local paper, award-winning
cheerleaders. From afar they look like a forest
on fire or soldiers piled up, the ones on top with their hands
in the air.
Pictures are there to remember when we were more than
ourselves. In black in white, two children
are sad, perfect statues. In color, they're just kids
with a fire hydrant between them.
A man told a woman in a book I just finished
that if you bend two trees together and you still can't cross
the river, you are being told something important.
I have learned this year that truckers are the strongest men alive.
They carry everything across, especially at night. Once
I kept so close to one he might has well have towed me.
They're interviewing a kid from Kansas who's started his own
bumper sticker business. There are funny ones and some
serious, like Papa's Pad when Mama's Mad and Pray Already.
A woman walks a little dog, looking down.
A kid digs a hole for her doll, looking down.
Hardhats dot the overpass, holding men.
At the World's Largest Truck Stop, one woman says
to another woman, You have to undo it.
They're stringing tinsel on a pile of tires. It will feel good,
she says, when it's undone.
On the bad days, accidents are mile markers. Here,
a car like a letter someone crumpled in anger,
then burned, just to be sure.
A truck, I heard somewhere, can weigh as much as ten elephants.
A flatbed pulls a house over a bridge.
I've never seen a stampede before.
Ginny, a hospice nurse, says that you can tell in the eyes,
when it's time. Think of it, she says, like cargo.
We go this far, then we unload it.
My father keeps in his basement a blue, never-used, two-person
kayak that his closest friends bought him for his fiftieth.
Every time I go home, I look at it.
I know how he imagined the morning. The boat light on his
shoulders, its tip into the water, he wavers in
after, has to steady his self. Then he begins the paddling out.
Copyright © 2009 Kristin Kelly All rights reserved
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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