Devin Kelly earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series in New York City. He is the author of two collaborative chapbooks as well as the books Blood on Blood (Unknown Press), and In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen (forthcoming 2017, CCM Press). He edits for Full Stop, works as a college advisor in Queens, teaches at the City College of New York, and lives in Harlem.
Running from House to Yard & Back
after M.A. Vizsolyi
In the picture in question the snow is not there
& we did not know it was coming, the winter
long off & seeming mild, but then arriving
silent & violent like a horse with no hooves.
My father once took me out back to open
the garage he'd not opened in years
& it was immaculate, like the first & only time
I saw my mother’s breasts, by accident.
you were gone on your birthday & I'm tired &
there is so much I have to tell you.
I once hung a cobweb on my father's beard & at night
sometimes I am scared to sleep & stand too long
naked in the light shaping through my window.
When my mother saw me seeing her she shooed me away.
In the picture I am smiling. You did not see
the snow or hear it barely falling. Did I tell you
it seemed immaculate? A baby in the city
looked like a blueberry drooping from the bush
of cloudy sky. I find it impossible to believe
that anything might last forever, but here in this snow
it may be almost likely. On the corner
a dog hurls itself into a dune & disappears
before emerging. I know everything
created is caused by a disappearance somewhere,
so I will go out into it.
I wrote the first attempt at this poem a long time ago, and fairly quickly, before shelving it. I had just become enamored once again with the poetry of M.A. Vizsolyi and wanted to write something of my own that had that same sort of tangential quality. I think a lot of my work attempts to find some sort of honesty in nostalgia, to reckon with love and loss in a way that is tender but not unspecific. The moment a thing leaves you it becomes malleable in some way, and though I love this, it makes me sad. The lines in here — "& so / you were gone on your birthday & I'm tired & / there is so much I have to tell you" — are a testament, I hope, to that. When Glass put out the call for snow-poems, I remembered this poem sort of vaguely, like a dream-scene in the back of my mind. So I returned to it, which is something I should do more often, and I'm deeply thankful to Rosebud for offering some perfect edits. I'm deeply thankful for everyone who writes poems and reads them and shares them.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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