Kai Coggin

As You Stand in a Field of Diamonds, I Follow You in a Poem

You are hunting for diamonds right now in the rain,
trudging through muck and mud in the after storm

rain boots and neon coat, like a walking sun
coercing the clouds to part before you, and before you

there were hardly moments that became poems before me,
so how could I not follow you in words today, see you

reaching for shine underfoot, and in my mind, I go there to the field,
wallow in your footprints like a waiting prince of poems,

eager to make holy your path with words, ready to scribe the verses
that unfold in your unearthing, your digging always deeper,

your sifting the dirt from the gleaming, light blooming at your feet.
And maybe this is how you found me, hopeless coal waiting

to be a thing that shines, a thing that is reminded of sparks of light
and you are that willing mud walker, coal breaker, that woman in the rain,

waiting for the familiar refrain of diamond dust echoing,
a star singing, an unnamed element waiting to be called infinite—

my body cracks into diamond spinal sword and you pull me
out of stone. I see your knees mud-heavy, your rain boots tracking hope,

how beauty is the language that magnets us, how beauty is always
how the poems unfold, me in your path toward diamonds,

writing of rainwater falling down your cheek, writing of sudden sun
breaking through clouds, and you there with your flawless heart

calling out to your reflection.

link to video 

Kai Coggin (she/her) is the Inaugural Poet Laureate of the City of Hot Springs, and author of five collections, most recently Mother of Other Kingdoms (Harbor Editions, 2024). She is a Certified Master Naturalist, a K-12 Teaching Artist in poetry with the Arkansas Arts Council, a CATALYZE grant fellow from the Mid-America Arts Alliance, and host of the longest running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country—Wednesday Night Poetry.

Coggin was awarded the 2023 Don Munro Leadership in the Arts Award for Visionary Service, and the 2021 Governor’s Arts Award for Arts in Education. She was twice named “Best Poet in Arkansas” by the Arkansas Times, and nominated for Arkansas State Poet Laureate and Hot Springs Woman of the Year. Her fierce and tender poetry has been nominated six times for The Pushcart Prize, and awarded Best of the Net in 2022. Ten of Kai’s poems are going to the moon with the Lunar Codex project, and on earth they have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Best of the Net, Cultural Weekly, SOLSTICE, The Night Heron Barks, Bellevue Literary Review, TAB, Pirene’s Fountain, About Place Journal, Sinister Wisdom, Lavender Review, Tupelo Press, and elsewhere. Coggin is Editor-at-Large at SWIMM, Associate Editor at The Rise Up Review, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. She lives with her wife in a peaceful valley, where they tend to wild ones and each other.