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After You Leave

We keep each other out now.
Grief winds the strings of my neck,
my shoulders, rolling mad into
the sour valleys of fertilized fields,
hacking the next cord of rotten wood.

On my bridal day, I slept in the shelters
of pines, nimble on the floor of needles.
Sounds poured out of my mouth like
stripped and shining buckles.

My head rises, remembering your heart
of pebbled snow, your belt undone.
I leave this body at the torn river of felt
and fur. A hole has opened into the world.
A hole has opened. A hole.


Kathryn Kysar is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and she edited the anthology Riding Shotgun:  Women Write About Their Mothers.  She has received fellowships and residencies from the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oberholtzer Foundation, and Write On, Door County. Her poems have been published in the Great River Review, MiznaThe MollyhousePermafrostStone Coast Review, and other magazines and anthologies.

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