Stacie M. Kiner

Letters of My Dead

Letters of my dead
carry leaves and dirt
to school
in pencil boxes;
miniature coffins
preparing us for lives
held underwater,
sand and earth
and beach chairs
washed away.

Twisting open Bahamian shutters
in a room in our favourite hotel,
I fold the map of your body
into my back pocket,
trying to explain
pull of earthly tethers,
flight of soul from matter.

If I were mathematical
I could calculate the meaning
of nights like these
rapture and grief entwine
as everything falls from the ledge
of a tilting planet

how far can wind carry you
when you won't let go?

Our world is held
in buckets of water
that fill on the floor
as clouds cast judgement

The dead -
where aren’t they?

Your body pulls away
from itself;
as birds in a Cornell box
sing of assembled sculpture,
subway tokens, compasses.

Listen -
each life becomes
beaten to a thinness
radiant as air.

Take comfort in this

past to which you never
have to return,
shoebox tossed to the wind

and if there is any innocence left

punch holes in its lid
to keep it alive.

Stacie M. Kiner is a former fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and Hannah Kahn Memorial Award recipient. Her poems have appeared in The Charlotte Poetry Review, Madison Review, Comstock Review, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Apalachee Quarterly and SWWIM, as well as other journals and reviews. Stacie’s work has appeared at Palm Beach International Airport, “Art in Public Places.” A former moderator of a poetry talk show on Channel 17 in Miami, Stacie is currently an Associate Editor of the South Florida Poetry Journal.