Two Poems by Kevin Casey





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.