L. S. Klatt


 

George Keats

How beautiful are the keyholes
in the wrists of brother Keats
who went to America & died
penniless, first arriving in
Cincinnati on a keel-
boat. There is no mention of
the brother in The Western Spy, 
yet we have a letter to John
lamenting a boat that can’t be
sold & anticipating a
sawmill to be acquired & boast-
ing of an iron foundry, 
the leading one in the West. 
Other letters tell of buckeyes
in bloom, bluegrass, bluebirds, swans, 
woodpeckers, cranes. He died, but
Isabella, his daughter, was
a girl strikingly free from
morbidity; yet one day she
too lay down to rest on the
sofa in her father’s darkened
library, & there set off
the trigger of a rifle,
killing herself unwittingly. 
But the story also goes
that she was visited repeat-
edly by a Californian
who took her for walks among
the periwinkles & ivy, walks
that concluded in a visit
to her father’s gravesite & 
a green cross.


 

Where My Sunflower Wishes to Go
 

A goldsmith hammered a sunflower
out of recycled trinkets. It howled 

because it was tasteless, because it was
brassy. It could not turn to the sun 

like other heliotropes. So the sun

had pity on the yard ornament
& melted it down with ardor. 

And the goldsmith soaked his hands
in the liquefaction, & they hardened. 

In this condition, he discovered 

a finch laying an egg in a trash can.
He could handle neither the bird 

nor the egg with his welded fingers. 
But the yolk beneath the blue enamel

of the sky made him happy. It cast
his silhouette on the sidewalk while bees

trampled it with mellifluous feet.

 


The stars cling to kidney, liver, spleen

RADIANCE                                               Ruby stars on ruby organs awash
                                                                   in a red tide

Yes, the high plain where my Star is the ranger                 I give my body a permit to carry
                                                                                                            a concealed weapon

I snipe stars by the seashore

Send the cattle to lick at light speed                                                                The surf is bioluminescent
                                                                                                                            a galasy of flesh-
                                                                                                                            eaters
          Until at last amber waves incinerate
          on salt flats

Ripple in a current that is garnet                                  My tongue hovers over the surge

Make the sound
of wheat

The mind, meanwhile, is in shock—look
how the sheaves