The Women

Keverlee Burchett


We might say bless you or we might not.
We might blow pollen off the trees, ask for forgiveness.
We may sit on the porch and watch the wind
beg the Universe for forgiveness.  We’ll pray
as we open the pasture gate, your horse broken,
everything gone to seed. Plant a garden in intention, 
then stop believing. Leave it in a mound in the yard, 
give our grains to the starvation army. Cover
tiny seed pearls in moist soil, feel
in the velvet bag for heirlooms. Throw away
our eyes to a flock of birds. Make mud pies
to send down the river with a wish and a dead leaf.
Smash the mosaics to dust, leave the pots
near the levee. Mount our self portraits
in concave mirrors taped to the walls. 
Take a hammer into the back yard to
build a box for dumplings and rings
for the chicken’s neck. Construe
a straightjacket, a beautiful damn quilt
of socks. Through the eye of a needle sew
a habit no one can trust.


Dark Matter

Keverlee Burchett


Lazy fingered at dawn I slouch
past the part of me that’s a pile
of rain-wet newsprint, fragrant and supple, 
watch the window for the tree’s shadow
dipping and rising like the head
of some impatient horse stopped
on the way to stable. It jerks
at the reins. Lord, I am tired of being patient, 
tired of sitting quietly, hands folded
like pages. I’m told this
is the nature of the practice: just
when you can’t, you must.
But who doesn’t love a doorway’s
dark violence? With magnificent rebellion
the body pulses, is live wire.
I flail, seek pain as relief
from pain. Tire of hearing myself think. 
I shake off garments of sewn words,
let the drops slick off my impervious skin—
because it’s an organ I keep
on the outside, I do not fear for it.  


Keverlee Burchett works in rural economic development in Central Appalachia. Her poems have been published in The Southeast Review, Southern Humanities Review, CALYX, and Painted Bride Quarterly, among others. She lives in Asheville in a small house with lots of animals, which was the goal from the beginning.

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