For a Misplaced Hatchet
The metronome of its ashen handle
counted time against my thigh as I walked,
but at some point it stopped, and I did not.
A half hour’s search among the poplars
to the north of the pasture, then darkness
drove me home, and so there it remains.
Once the sun had chopped it free from the snow
that spring, flattened shoots of irises grew
about it in a fence, and the damp breath
of soil etched fissures in its lacquer.
Its polished face reflected the flickering
pulse of day and night, until a fretwork
of rust was cut across its mirror,
and warm rains sought to wash it into the mold
as it turned from tool to artefact.
These reveries grow more vivid as it
settles into its bed of dried ferns–
still only misplaced and never lost
so long as it’s kept in mind, a part
of myself split along the grain and left
to watch over that corner of the world.
To a Mosquito
Resting on the porch table, rear legs raised,
your belly droops with a salty dollop
of someone’s blood–mine perhaps, siphoned
through insensate ankle skin, or my child’s,
and so mine by extension, though perhaps
a thinner brine drawn from a dog or deer.
With the sunset behind you, your decanted
treasure glows, carmine and translucent,
and assuming you could rise, so blood-drunk
and weighted down, I would spare both your life
and an evening of itching to watch a flock
of your irksome kind, each ferrying a drop
of me across the yard like fireflies–
dull lanterns in the dusk shuttling warmth
instead of light above the dew-cooled field.
“For a Misplaced Hatchet” first appeared in Switchback. “To a Mosquito,” first appeared in Sourland Mountain Review. Both poems will appear in Casey’s new book, American Lotus.
Kevin Casey‘s new book, American Lotus, is forthcoming from Aldrich Press. The book was the winner of Aldrich Press’s 2017 Kithara Prize.