To have it, be it

those mornings when you wake

and cannot turn your head.

The stiff column of your neck & spine

reminding you they exist & of how

limited peripheral vision is & more so

as we age, the eyes becoming nothing but

slits, wide-eyed wonder no more than a phrase.

This is when you wish for it &, too,

when winter comes ferocious, making its demands:

the coat, the gloves, the hat, the scarf, the boots,

the wariness of ice, press of snow, hands lying

chapped in your lap every evening.

&, lastly, when hungry, that particular ache.


You see it as a flame, some carryover from those Sundays

when you accompanied your mother & served

as acolyte, good girl. The lit candle hovering

is what you imagine, wish to be. Only wind would frighten

or the wet pinch of fingers, nothing more. & not often.


The ease, the ease, & the weightlessness you try for those

days when you walk the house & gather items & drive a mile

to give them away!


Sometimes, in certain settings, you near it:

the ascent into air, the descent into water, those

temporary states. But only sometimes & so briefly.


You dream of a room with one window & white walls,

a bed, a chair, a desk, three books, paper, pen,

the one painting no more than 8 X 8. & still too much

too often. You ask if three is too many, if the image

could rather, instead, be only recalled. If the words need

be written.


What is it you wish to cast off?

What more could you disown?





Argue without sense. Just the furor of the bee’s sting

and subsequent weeping. Quick anger and tears, the stopped

phrase, mid-sentence. I do not want. Or: go ahead and.


Tear the pages out in the middle and near the end, where it gets interesting.


She walks offstage and doesn’t return and we ask, What became of her?

Not even a few lines, like in Shakespeare, about her death. Nothing. Last you heard,

she had moved to Texas and wrote with sadness of the never-ending flatness.

Sure, there were sunsets, but.


Something’s missing.


Way out on the peninsula, there was no service. Even in the town,

before the logging roads, red and wet, nothing.

People used actual maps, folded in haphazard ways, and tried not to think

of the movies they had seen or the books they had read featuring disappearance,

absence, the answer

never given.





The scrawl,

the cheeky comment in ink on the glossy page,

and another, on the back of a photo. There on the shelf, there

in a box.

And the three-legged stool with its spinning top,        no accompanying keys. There

in the corner.

And the white plates and bowls parceled,

stacked in the back of the cabinet.

One, two, and three.

One, two, and three.

And the skin of a berry

or a fruit. Hanging limp on the tree,

lying, gutted, on the cutting board. Or

the bone.


Kelly R. Samuels


Kelly R. Samuels lives and works as an adjunct English instructor near what some term the “west coast of Wisconsin.” Her work has appeared in PoetsArtists’s JuJuBes, online at apt, Off the Coast, and Cleaver, and is forthcoming in Kestrel.





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