read a poem Archives - Page 2 of 8 - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Posts in "read a poem" Category — Page 2

August

When they go — and they’ll go
Soon, I’m told — it is the strawberries I’ll remember.
Half-mown field, crooked patch, unwashed fruit
Tasting partly of earth. Part warmth. Part
Grandfatherly hand offering his best
To one girl he didn’t know how to love.
Sweating, silent, we cross the back porch and
He hands them to the other one–no longer so young–
Sixty years and not a word more between them.
I stood beside her, then, light filtering in dusty swirls
Through the kitchen window. It was a process,
The way her hands dripped with juice as she cut off
Their heads and sliced them in two, crafting a cold metal bowl
Of sugar and red despite the heat. She never stopped bitching
About his picking the unripe ones, as if this continued to be
The insufferable thing about marriage. And she never
Moved the trash can closer, just kept firing sea green fruit
In its direction for the duration of those gathering days.
Sometimes he stayed in the garden to avoid this messy crossfire;
Sometimes I stole away to nap near him in the next room
While Grandma stood, face to the sun,
Her hands dripping something much brighter than blood.

P.S. This poem appears in All the Selves I Used to Be, which contains 69 of my poems. Pick it up in paperback or in digital form!

The Domestic

I come from a family of butchers,
Blood soaking through the second kiss before dinner.
I feel them poor
Sometimes, boarding a sea-faring bathtub
With pockets of cheese and worthless coins and
Toys to tide the children over, week by week.

I feel them arrive, settle
— And those women, thick bones
Harnessing even the Pennsylvania sun —
Daughters with no secret corners of grace.
They beat rugs, drive horses, plow, cook, mend,
Fuck with abandon.
These women my ancestors
Know nothing of PMS, estrogen, excuses,
The word ‘demure.’ None of it
But hungry men, barking children,
Babies practicing their fists
In the amniotic slosh.

Here there is no room for nostalgia
Or scraped knees, only the land.
Meat, growth, winter, birth.
Survival, gravestones, a stocked cabinet;
The occasional Sears Roebuck catalog
And kneeling without prayer.

P.S. This poem appears in All the Selves I Used to Be, which contains 69 of my poems. Pick it up in paperback or in digital form!

Once-Failed Essay for Mr. Lesko

Poetry is the art of condensing the essential:
My nuts and bolts speaking
To your nuts and bolts,
No flesh or earth allowed.

It is in the love of nuns for a three-figured God
As much as cherry blossoms, orange peels,
All the times we said “No.”

It breathes and pulses like no other entity,
Clouding the planet with heady incense—
Alluring like sex and far more dangerous yet

Poetry is not near us, it is us–
So many houses with the roofs
Blown off, top floors open
And gaping at the sun.

P.S. This poem appears in All the Selves I Used to Be, which contains 69 of my poems. Pick it up in paperback or in digital form!