Kevin McIlvoy

The Prophet Elijah Awakened in the Desert by an Angel, Giovanni Lanfranco, 1624 – 1625

Troubled guest

That one has come for me,
I said to myself, training for another
race, running distance on a trail
in desert ranchland.
Not far beyond me,
the tumbleweeds, the shape of
my private and
imposing failures, circled
the barren depressions
or skidded down and out
on the slight inclines,
sometimes exploding into one
another and recomposing,
a body growing chaotically larger
and larger, the torso
ballooning, the friction
of rolling over heated
sand causing slight roundness
and thistledown lightness,
primordial nowness,
an awesome loft and
directionless acceleration. From
inside one whistling
and crackling weed-carcass
came crowd-whispers,
came hymns, came
accusing prayers sung by
the cooling ashes of churches,
came one pilgrim
with one companion
traveling one fire-path

Kevin McIlvoy’s poems are from a work in progress, The River Scratch. Poems from it appear in The Georgia Review, Willow Springs, Consequence, Humana Obscura, Barzakh, JMWW, Still, and other magazines.

Next poem

Previous poem

Fall 2021