A woman with a brain tumor
gave me a watercolor reindeer.
She spent her days painting
and ringing her little bell.
It is better to checkout with hair
askew and sweatpants pooling.
Lick the days and drop them in a box.
Scrapbooks are for pasting hearts.
Under the streetlamp, I kissed you.
This exit is universally accessible.
Remember the lunch lady?
If you didn’t finish your sandwich,
she fished it out of the trash.
When she was hit by the bus,
no one cried. She could not lick us
and stick us in her socks. She never saw
that bus rounding the bend. In the corner,
a young boy tucked into his sandwich.
Gotami stops at every house.
The mountains rose up like walls
around us. In the abandoned
saloon, people etched their names.
They’d stood in this spot
with dusty feet and ornery children,
with lovers or parents,
faces obscured by leaded glass.
The poet who lived along
the panoramic trail
stayed too long. They say
he died of laziness, but I imagine
the grass undulating and
the water’s distant insistence,
the poet crouched beside
a monument plant unable to eat
or feel the encroaching cold,
the ominous clouds clearing the peaks,
watching that beautiful monocarpic,
that flowers only once before it dies
rises up like a man arms to the sky.
’s work has appeared in The Kenyon Review (KRO), NPR’s This I Believe, The Florida Review, Flashquake, The Montreal Review, The Cleveland Review, The Windsor Review and various other journals. Her poetry chapbook, On The Street Where We Live won the 2011 Standing Rock Chapbook Contest and was published in February 2012. Her poetry chapbook, Tell Me When It Starts To Hurt was published by Kattywompus Press in May 2013. She received her MFA in creative writing from Queens University in Charlotte. www.kellyfordon.com