Keetje Kuipers

Georgia

I’ve been trying for a year to decide

if I’m in love with you. Now, red clover

spattered in the ditches, I cross the state

line on my way to be with you. This week

everything gave itself up to the light,

dogwood trees and effusive azaleas,

even the dead armadillos, belly

up to the sun. I still don’t know what holds

me back. The sign on the car I pass says

gone for gas, but that’s a lie. Kudzu wound

through the tires, leaves pressed to the glass where

anyone can see the dust on the dash.

Too Many Bridges

Light-headed at the railing, I’m afraid to look—
down, across, past the past to the place where I begin.
Coming back might be the mistake the whole town’s
been wanting me to make. Back to the cold of the drive-in,

past the past, to the place where they made me begin
among the filleted clouds and pressed light of March.
Wanting me to make it back to the cold of the drive-in,
where I used to park at lunch and fall asleep, neck arched,

mouth open to the filleted clouds and pressed light of March.
Back to roads in the softly curved shape of flattened worms,
where I used to park at lunch and fall asleep, neck arched,
while snow patched the shaved heads of the circling berms.

Ugly things have happened here: too many bridges.
Coming back might be the mistake I’ve always known
I would make. Otherwise, whose hands are these on the edge
of the railing? Light-headed, I’m afraid to look.

Keetje Kuipers has been the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College. Her first book, Beautiful in the Mouth, won the A. Poulin, Jr. Prize from BOA Editions and was published in 2010. Her second book, The Keys to the Jail, was published in 2014. Keetje is an Assistant Professor at Auburn University.

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