The 2River View 23.2 (Winter 2019)

Kathleen Hellen

… stunningly … beautiful … action …

It started with the trespass of his room,
involved a broom,
that knocked into his chest
of drawers that triggered the effect
sometimes predicted, and for which
I know I’ll never be forgiven. A sequence
of events upsetting swimmer, bowling lad,
the golden boy poised to kick—they lurched
in convoy, triggering the dislocations, fractured
heads. I watched the fall of trophies—plated, stiff
guardians—not sudden death … the skull flexes,
bone lays thick in tissue until membranous spaces
fill … running interference.

To “whosoever believeth”

         Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore

Sleep in it, walk on it

each cemetery is a carpet
woven for protection against cold, a pattern—
eye, script, the head of a bird. The night dyed in sunsets

each cemetery is a garden where we sin, the death committed
in a paradise of elms and vaulted hills reconciled with
obelisks, a stone finger pointing to the heavens

a continuum where bronze Endymion in rigid, greens
beside the slaver’s “Patty” and the other orphaned
to the ragged wind, a carved dog at her feet, still loyal

each cemetery has the ouija’s “talking board”
spelling mortal, immortal

Kathleen Hellen is the author of The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin (2018), Umberto’s Night, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento.

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