Kelli Russell Agodon


Tonight under an unkissed moon—
the recipe is disappearing, a dialogue
with rising tides and a lightship
crashing against a blue shore of healing.
When I struggle in a diorama

          of traffic, I become the silver orb
          in a city’s pinball machine—be here now
          —flung against the pulsing lights
          and hectic newspapers that paper mâché
          themselves to my legs, my life, I forget

it’s been years since I’ve seen neon
flickers, now the only language I speak
is seascape, searchlight, a map
made of unintelligible emotions
I try to navigate. If I could be any age,

          I’d be the heartbeat just before
          the butter melts, where everything
          is soft and easy, a cookbook
          for a sacred life. And when I’m desperate
          for spices, I go to the bodega to buy love,

but the owner gives me wine and a new pen,
says, This is probably better—and how can I
argue? I had forgotten to pack a lunch,
forgotten how much I ache for anyone
to rest their words against my lips.

Kelli Russell Agodon is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press, where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her most recent book, Hourglass Museum, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Poetry Prize. Her second book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room won Foreword Indies Book of the Year Prize for poetry. She coauthored The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice with poet Martha Silano and is the Co-director of Poets on the Coast. Her next collection of poems, Dialogues with Rising Tides, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2021. /

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