is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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

living flesh.

             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.



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