Laura Kasischke


The broom closet to another planet.
The impending planetary disaster.
The children in their maniac
trances.  The rockets.
The neighbors.  The
open-mouthed spectators.  The boy

tumbling into the bottomless well.
There, the cornstalks.  The rooster
at the center of the Earth.
And also on Mars.
Backwards, the familiar landmarks.
And the plain voice
which spoke your name

in the middle of the night
on that long drive through Nebraska.
You just kept driving.  What

else could you do?  Slow
down?  Hah!

And your father
who made you
by spilling his billion stars into the dark, while
crying out to your mother
as the sea washed her up on the shore
in the ‘60’s
with her long hair and her
vegetable recipes.  And

you, small package of meat and dream.

And Beethoven, who lived
and died
deaf.  Music.
The kitten

named Sally, alive
for an hour.  Then
dead, forever.

Nowhere, the beginning.
Nowhere, the end.
Like us, her eyes
never even opened.
Like her, do we

have any idea
where we are?
Where we were?
Where we’re going?  Oh

for God’s sake let us
put our weapons away.


Laura Kasischke’s most recent collection of poetry, Space, in Chains, received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2012. She lives in Chelsea, Michigan.
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    Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí