David Keplinger is the author of five books, recently The Most Natural Thing (New Issues, 2013). His poetry has won honors including The Colorado Book Award, the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Cavafy Prize from Poetry International, and an NEA Fellowship. Recent work has appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Ninth Letter, AGNI, and other journals.
At our reservoir the Pleistocene is lifted
into light, and comes alive in agony
for stumpknockers, pumpkinseeds, long-eareds.
A hook in the eye is the petrified tear.
On land it flaps with its three anal spines,
coughing up air through a girdle.
Sometimes the worm protrudes, a tongue.
I have seen, on clear days, the underworld from which
it comes: black grass like hair standing up on end.
A Very Short Story
I had begun to love some Elena Maria and I thought I would die of her life. From the window of my bedroom the Guadalquivir was rushing the boats off to sea, from Cordoba through Seville, on to Bonanza, and into the Gulf of Cadiz. And the sun went on setting, making everything heavy, golden, everything deeper in worth, gold horses, gold carriages, gold dung, gold children, dotting the Plaza d’Espana. I couldn’t possibly afford such beauty. As for my treasure, what else can I say, I dragged the curtains over it.