26 June 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 2
Across a great wilderness without you
The deer come out in the evening.
God bless them for not judging me,
I'm drunk. I stand on the porch in my bathrobe
and make strange noises at them—
if language can be a kind of crying.
The tin cans scattered in the meadow glow,
each bullet hole suffused with moon,
like the platinum thread beyond them
where the river runs the length of the valley.
That's where the fish are.
I'll scoop them from the pockets of graveled
stone beneath the bank, their bodies
desperately alive when I hold them in my hands,
the way prayers become more hopeless
when uttered aloud.
The phone's disconnected.
Just as well, I've got nothing to tell you:
I won't go inside where the bats dip and swarm
over my bed. It's the sound of them
shouldering against each other that terrifies me,
as if it might hurt to brush across another being's
But I carry a gun now. I've cut down
a tree. You wouldn't recognize me in town—
my hands lost in my pockets, two disabused tools
I've retired from their life of touching you.
About the author:
Keetje Kuipers has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Oregon Literary Arts, and SoapStone. She was the recipient of the 2007 Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, as well as the second place winner of the 2007 Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry. Her poems are currently published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, West Branch, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Willow Springs, among others. You can hear her read her work at the online audio archive From the Fishouse.
For further reading:
See the complete list of work by Keetje Kuipers at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 2, where "Across a great wilderness without you" ran on June 26, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry.