Kathleen Winter


We shall never again be as we were.

You, for instance, are missing an ear;
I wring a kitchen towel for my conscience.

The tiny, bankrupt kingdom
            of our secret has disappeared from maps.

Sadness a gap in the sky

                        where truth clawed through.

From knowing to ignorance,
            a secret’s track of smoke
     is a letter eaten by fire

                          or the path of a bee

           flower to
                  flower to flower
                                      to flower,

                                   never repeated.

When my hand rode
             your sleeve white walls
were peacocks’ plumes.

                         Rain was a sacrament
           as our eyes magnified

                          the poor world         into plenty.


Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter’s book Nostalgia for the Criminal Past (Elixir Press) won the 2012 Antivenom Prize and the 2013 Texas Institute of Letters Memorial Award for a first book of poems. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, The New Republic, AGNI, Volt, The Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, 32 Poems and Field.  She teaches at San Francisco State. More of her work is found online at Memorious, Verse Daily, and Anti-Poetry.