Two Poems: Ars Sequoia // Ars Empathica

AUGUST 31, 2018

These two poems appear in the latest issue of the LARB Print Quarterly Journal: No. 19,  Romance
To receive the LARB Quarterly Journal, become a member  or purchase a copy at your local bookstore. A man with metal teeth
ate the bark,
the heart wood,
the bark. together, the hill:
Be dizzy, said the sun. Spin in the light. Take dominion
over one another. We were like that then,
eaten and eating,
sawing and sawn. Fog rises and our breath
shows white in the damp air. How I cried at the summit;
how you blocked the sun and, somewhere,
the ocean. ¤
Ars Empathica
We lived in the imperative:
Walk through the tree. What sweet anchor
your eyes made.  

Donika Kelly is the author of Bestiary (Graywolf 2016). Here, in the dead heart
where rings or blackened fissures
should be, feel instead
teeth and tongue, gum and hard palate. Be dizzy, said the heart and lungs and vessels between. My breasts and thighs hold you
to the bone and wood. My hand covers your hand,
holds the jaw in place. But about the tree —
no euphemism there:
A tree fell. I mean, of course, our bodies,
but also how we mounted. We followed the man
with the mouth
that chewed like a blade.  
Ars Sequoia
Anticipate the bone
buried in the hardwood,
grown, we might say,
in the low resin and dark. Be dizzy, said the blood.