Sabbath + I will not be embalmed and placed behind an iron gate

Kaitlyn Airy



            stark staring



of thirst

            ravish then

            this rare acre

            this dark



Under this belfry

            my hymn:




of sordid


Darkest darling



husks       admonish me

your fever.

I will not be embalmed and placed behind an iron gate

I worry about stepping on unmarked graves / the world is full of them / shallow ones covered in soft grass / lurid and lush / for no grave is marked forever / and when showers come

and shroud our prairie / I watch the throat of the earth swallow rain / and upon growing a marriage of root and tree / upon tangling with the dirt / I do not care if I breathe a lungful of soot / for this

is our inheritance / I pull this silk dress over my brow / and think of ash / I touch my cheek and think of clay on the wheel / as I cover my mind with sleep / an arc of stars crowns the sky / burns steadily through the dark air / your eyes

are gold coins which ferry my body across the river / a river which moves like the green pour of sugar and absinthe / or a pair of hands carrying a lover / through the worn curtain of time / and so we watch days

tumble into the barrel / drink the cold ferment of an autumn below / throw tough leather scraps for dogs / and at night / we hug the cold road home drunk / ablaze in rushlight / and if I should kiss sunbaked mud one day / promise

that you’ll bury me undercliff / in a field of heather / a slant of light / that you should scavenge my extinction / my body no longer a home / that you should place that jeweled seed / in the mouth of a girl / who fled a chasm of hounds to warm / your tarnished dark / who sieved the dull husks

of a ruinous year / and held the shape of a seed / of a man / of a history

no other mortal may recall

Kaitlyn Airy is a Korean American poet and fiction writer. She was the 2020 winner of the Phyllis L. Ennes Contest and will be a featured poet at the next Skagit River Poetry Festival. Her recent work appears in EcoTheo and Crab Creek Review. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Virginia.

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