Poems of the Week – Paige Ackerson-Kiely




Mild lamb, I would
gather so closely to me.
I raise my hand,
ask to be chosen.
Life was interesting
when I believed everything
I heard. Now
there is wool in my ear canal.
I give myself away.
Take this hay, take this
big heap of wet hay
in your pitchfork.
Move it somewhere else.
There is plenty of room
in the field. I smoke
behind the fencepost.
I know clearly that I will
remove my pants
when it is requested
I remove my pants.
They will call all of us in
on cold nights,
though no one calls
to me specifically.


A Moment as Roscoe Holcomb

Sadness is the boarded-up mill turning in my wrist.
Take me to the garden. Let me kill the livestock.

One by one mason jars are filled;
my beet-struck heart vinegared.

Everywhere I go, the casual brides.
The farmers lowering down on their elbows.

Angles in my narrow voice–
who has filched all of these round feelings,

the hapless skirts limp on the line:
no need to call in sick.

Nights from now I will join the river.
I will say current and it will be mine,

as a man turned away at the door.
In the meantime, at least, work.

Mice nesting in the walls,
rust dolefully eating the edges.


On the Austerity of Autumn

Falling leaves are not dancing and the crow is no counselor
apparent as a cast-iron pot. It feels shitty, all this negating
but I am quitting Romance—no estranged glances cast over the
prow and the lake, just blue and ordinarily still lest we be
swallowed and drowning lonely. That was the time I wanted to
kiss someone deeply and it was forbidden. Treading water. God
was shiny and dwelled peacefully in the village fertilizing crops
and carrying planes in the stave of his hand to gentle landings
at the Burlington Airport. This is the time I hold the railing
as I make my way downstairs. Omit clutch. Omit grasp and falter.
I am through painting lakes disguising green algae. Through
with nights meting out the unhavables, the insects multiplying
symphonically in the yard. It would be impolite to say fucking. I
won’t. It is Autumn and soon it will be Winter.


* all poems from In No One’s Land, Ahsahta Press, 2007.

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