Kathleen Kilcup

Blood-letting Day

Blood-letting day. Thursday, the sun is resting on the head of a walnut tree.
I drain and faint in the lobby of a church. Red bag of my oxygen and
       mineral self,

myself on a hook, growing fat. Thursday, and the dirt drinks what it needs
from the sky. As flowers go, Bleeding Hearts are deceptive.

Wispy stems and small sex, they’ll take the whole bed if you let them,
sloping colonies of Thursdays like this.

My parents eat and laugh in the good light. Steak on the porch, wine, wild
       rice.
I will not be misled.

Pale sky rolls back the day. Thursday, the end of things
crawls through the garden, silent and wet-pawed.

For Simone

Late June: house high above a valley, windows blink south
over a thousand years of space, dun, rock, tree foam. The evening’s heft
       settles onto us.
Aphotic sky, near and very far away.

So many lives are lived outside themselves, as when Simone read
      Schopenhauer
and soon after starved to death. Will towards weightless purity.
She could have stayed in Marseille with a Dominican priest, eaten
      blackberries,
                                        sown her feet to the mineral earth.

In this mountain home, I am far from myself, thinking of myself.
The deep rib and iron parts of me pull north,
toward a garden, a farm house set low in a wide, wet slip of green,
                                        another valley, a father.

Dark now, and the stars
            do not distract from the cold. The world has nothing to offer but
                   itself,
possesses nothing but this blinking light, the given, dog-like material of
       force.
            What does the scripture say?

Author Portrait

Kathleen Kilcup’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Salon, Boston Poetry Magazine, CURA, Dappled Things, Saint Katherine’s Review, The Poet’s Billow, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the Bermuda Triangle Prize in Poetry (2014) and the Pangaea Prize in Poetry (2013) and received first place in the Paper Gardens Poetry Contest (2011). In 2014, she received an MFA in Poetry from University of California, Riverside.