Ode to collapsing arch
Sprinting down the touch line racing the opposing forward
toward the goal reaching the front foot in a last dive
to get ahead and in the foot something
A congregation of eclipses filtered
through leaves. A million small crescent suns
clustering the grass.
The stars over the stadium as we practiced those evenings. When
we laughed the coach said too much oxygen
and made us run more. More white breath
panting out into the night.
Secretly I’m obsessed
with the curves of the
bass cleft: angle and
peak and small
We sliced fish down the belly
fin to jaw, ran a finger along the spine
to dig out the guts, the airbladder, the eggs.
A fish is a floating world.
My first love was a printmaker.
I used to perch on a tall hard stool
in the studio all night and watch her rolling
the brayer in sticky black ink
then smoothing ink across glass or smearing it
with her hands.
Arch of scale on scale.
before the splash.
She carved lines out of linoleum. Aligned
paper on the print block, covered
it over with blankets. Made her images
out of lines where the ink
We never touched.
by Ainsley Kelly
rise to the weather forecast
morning whittled down
branch thin as a balance beam
all the chimes of the rising horns
the bus air brakes let go
come bareheaded come gilded
come graying griddled reunions
toasts and substituted milks
flies buzzing out back
by the bathroom the kind
you have to ask a key for
passed over the counter
no one knowing when to go
swallowtail morning circling
a crush a cloud a swing
wingbeats soggy lawn
mulchsquish after rain
again again again but today
cloud on one side of the lake only
raining there then catching me
walking windward back ripples
reeding mudpaw sink leaps
prances on its leash—the golden
retriever chasing a cloud
of swallows arcing swoopward
track around we cloud to cloud
all leashbound and laughing
Ainsley Kelly is a queer poet from California. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Passages North, Poets.Org, Fourteen Hills, Hummingbird, Quiddity, and the Santa Clara Review among others. She earned her MFA from the University of Washington and now lives in Seattle.