5 Poems by Patrick Kindig



For weeks two rabbits have sat
evenings in the grass outside


my apartment. They have been watching me
eat pomegranate flesh, naked,


seen me leave behind the seeds.
Something I have recently learned:


the body has enough blood
for the heart or the cock, enough fear


for both. I have learned there is
a way the body can tremble before


the white hole of the future and yet
keep trembling, keep tumbling


toward the light. For now: the world
is mute and blue. The air is cold,


growing colder. And in the kitchen
I am standing, windows open, still naked,


running water across my red hands, only
one rabbit breathing in the courtyard.



Bestiary: Asp

He takes his snake hands
         & touches my lips.


He touches the pink folds
         of my ear & hums:


anything to stop
         the talking. The men


pass & pass in their grey
         sweatpants & so


he tastes the air, one finger
         in my mouth, one licking


the window’s condensation.
         There are garnets


in his stomach. There
         are garnets in his chest.


When he moves his jaw
         the way he does


I see the inside
         of his throat, its red jerk


& redder glisten, the way
         its muscles


open wide & then, suddenly,



how do we measure
         this deep upwelling sadness


first there is                  the balloon
         then there is the balloon        then


there is a sound   & a window
         where the balloon should be



Bestiary: Echeneis

Sometimes I go weeks
without noticing him:
the way he presses his mouth


against my chest, the way
he is always licking
at my body’s salt. Only


when the wind raises itself
& I try to raise myself too & fail
do I notice: neither of us


can walk. He is turning
my skin into aluminum,
my bones into lead. He is always


touching his tongue to my neck
& it is always winter. At night
he lays his head against my thigh


& cries. The moon recedes.
In the morning neither of us remembers
how to get out of bed.


this year I am learning
what the light can do.
I am looking differently
through windows,
at the hands of grocery
shoppers. this year
I am eating carrots
& cabbage, drinking
more water. becoming
a rabbit. I am burning
the photos in my bedroom
& breaking all the mirrors.
this year I am spending
more time with the door
open, lighting candles
that smell like axe
bodyspray. I am sleeping
at night & waking each morning
& remembering how to tell
time. this year I am replacing
alcohol with feelings. I
am listening more closely
to my lungs & I am trying
to make softer noises. this year
I am being resolute. I
am watching less porn
& finding new ways
to love myself, even
after dark. this year
I am learning the piano. I
am purchasing new socks.


Patrick Kindig is a PhD candidate at Indiana University, where he studies nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. He is the author of the micro-chapbook Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press 2016), and his poems have recently appeared in the Notre Dame Review, Meridian, Hobart, Muzzle, and other journals.

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