Two Poems: Ars Sequoia // Ars Empathica

August 31, 2018   •   By Donika Kelly

These two poems appear in the latest issue of the LARB Print Quarterly Journal: No. 19,  Romance

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Ars Sequoia

Anticipate the bone
buried in the hardwood,

grown, we might say,
in the low resin and dark.

Here, in the dead heart
where rings or blackened fissures

should be, feel instead
teeth and tongue, gum and hard palate.

My hand covers your hand,
holds the jaw in place.

My breasts and thighs hold you
to the bone and wood.

Fog rises and our breath
shows white in the damp air.


Ars Empathica

We lived in the imperative:

Walk through the tree.
Spin in the light.

Take dominion
over one another.

But about the tree —
no euphemism there:

A tree fell.
A man with metal teeth

ate the bark,

the heart wood,

the bark.

We followed the man
with the mouth
that chewed like a blade.

We were like that then,
eaten and eating,
sawing and sawn.

I mean, of course, our bodies,
but also how we mounted.
together, the hill:

Be dizzy, said the sun.
Be dizzy, said the blood.

Be dizzy, said the heart and lungs and vessels between.

How I cried at the summit;
how you blocked the sun and, somewhere,
the ocean. What sweet anchor
your eyes made.