Poetry from Tim Kahl

Survivors’ Ashes


Original image via morgeFile


Survivors floated into the range of the goat man’s rifle
their black arms stirring leaves and dove songs into headlights

their bones choosing what they hate about rice and the sycamore giants
who collapse life as we know it in their three-chambered hearts

the loose soil around the trees is full of lust and trash
championed by an oleander’s mind swollen near a window

look within and see how the shadows open in the wilderness
how the marble floors of an octagonal house exert their laws

but if you survive passing time in the languid waters
with your talent for membranes and electrocutions

with your curious god-given face pointed at the miracle
your body clamoring for the old teams of atoms and red meat

then your image will stand like a fact mounted in the sky
and hovering in the house of mirth with its dark-eyed rivals

we laugh at the continued hazards while numbers are being mean
to animals, torturing them A to Z in the vacant lot

we entertain the nuns with our amateur grunts and groans on
the toilet to satisfy the hunger of our dedicated spirit

yes I admit my teeth chatter and erase the Inuit world
as I eat the ashes of an only son to simplify the map of the tragic

Tim Kahl [http://www.timkahl.com] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) and The String of Islands (Dink, 2015). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters’ Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S. He appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup (http://greatamericanpinup.wordpress.com/) and the poetry video blog Linebreak Studios [http://linebreakstudios.blogspot.com/]. He is also editor of Bald Trickster Press and Clade Song [http://www.cladesong.com]. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He also has a public installation in Sacramento {In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth} [http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickele/11129585563/] [http://www.sacmetroarts.org/documents/FullPoems.pdf] He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento and houses his father’s literary estate—one volume: Robert Gerstmann’s book of photos of Chile, 1932.

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