from Occasional Chainsaws in the Valley of Eternal Sorry by Gina Keicher

We smell rusting smoke from the road
but can’t see through the trees to find the source.

Hands through curved, dry limbs. The slip
over moss. Our legs take the miles in their knees,

flatten leaves where snakes rest. I want us
to always be possible like the last cocktail napkin

behind the one unopened bottle at a party, the glut
of cat toys we find when we move furniture.

Dust clouds the dirt road, the air just above,
fata-morgana-style. This is not the ocean

or the desert or the mercy we asked for,
kneeling down. We will not always be possible

in a physical sense but when you ask me
to kneel down it’s not a threat. Hands kneading hair,

the car pulling off to swing lights over tall grass,
the brake groaning on. I want to swallow

the middle of nowhere like summer fruit
because when I run through your dreams

it’s fast and lonely. Looking over my shoulder.
So torn up by briars I could be an animal

limp as hoses dangling from abattoir rails.
An animal swaying above a slot drain in a floor.

Silhouette hoisted above concrete floors.
Gina Keicher is the author of Wilderness Champion (Gold Wake Press, 2014) and Here is My Adventure I Call it Alone (dancing girl press, 2015). She is an associate editor for Black Lawrence Press. She lives in Ithaca, New York, where she is a lecturer at Ithaca College.