BY KYLA STERLING
this is destruction splash of gasoline
a hornet’s nest knocked from the overhang
the bodies curled
brittle the thorax
I have slipped in and out
a word that implies more than passing
implies meant to be
smoke rolls up from the south
the swamp is burning
will continue this unvarying landscape
long stretches of highway
the marsh grass
dried golden and hollow
last week I woke with no idea
where I was or who lay next to me
I am searching for something
among the young and unattached
a dangerous thing—an eave
an extended invitation
that we should arrive so willingly
at this paper house
that we should stand over it
as it burns but tenderly
the path of pins or the path of needles
BY KYLA STERLING
Come closer: this house is full of keyholes.
You could spend your life here.
A door swings open:
quick as a watch.
Look: there you are,
sitting on the edge
of a bed, a patchwork quilt,
to comb your hair.
This is not a farmhouse.
There are no chickens in the yard,
no tomato vines
curling up the casement.
This is no bad dream disguised
as something clever.
The hallway’s full of white doors,
The walls are crumbling,
ants carry off the smaller pieces.
Crickets have poisoned the well.
In the kitchen, a woman hunched
over the ashes of old cigarettes
keeps your name in her basket.
Kyla Sterling earned her MFA in poetry at UNC–Greensboro. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly, Parcel, Radar Poetry, Blackbird, Barrow Street, and Notre Dame Review, among others. Her first chapbook, Warnings & Fables, is forthcoming with dancing girl press. She currently lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband and their cat.
Next (Christian Anton Gerard) >
< Previous (Ellen McGrath Smith)