Wednesday, July 09, 2014

L.S. McKee



Nevermind the haze
nesting in the valley.

Nevermind the tallest flag
by the river dimmed—

the woman will return home,
bragging how she alone

glimpsed a binocular flash
from a lookout’s shack—

how she saw his eyes
look once then

cut away while the river
buried the sky

a bit deeper.


Here, the world ends,
she moans,

as a spindle of light
in the land-mined grass

bends and gulps like a heron.
Every tourist here is hawk-eyed,

cradles visions
in their blinking cameras:

curl of barbed wire,
nod of a bored soldier

thumbing through the day’s
instructions as

his loosened helmet
slips in the heat.


She strains
to memorize the land

beyond him—
the other country

borderless below
a dismantled bridge—

somehow familiar
and yet like nothing before

or since; a hill is a hill
she thinks. The jackknifed

grass; everything bends
familiar. Once before

she has seen it, the place,
though not here,

where lands blurs
so near,

only the birds
carve through.

L.S. McKee's poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, The Louisville Review,  New South, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in poetry from Stanford University. Originally from East Tennessee, she lives in Atlanta and teaches at the University of West Georgia.