ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Molly Kirschner



Branches like hair strands frozen
in the swing of a breeze, the tree still
in its see-through slip, I hang my coat on it
so it won’t get cold.

I ask if it feels anger underneath its wooden mask.
I tend to assume
I’m obvious. I think a mean thought about someone
and avoid them for weeks.

Once I thought, “The horizon is the sky’s bad haircut,”
then hid inside all day.

I’m ice-fishing in my soul so you bring me
a rod and bait. I’m trying to unlock
so you bring me a rusty key. I may not be

the self I’ve been seeking but you recognize me anyway
like a moth that can’t find a flame
orbits a paralyzed ferris wheel.



Sort of Tragic

Two people
would give anything to like each other.
At night they draw up long lists of each other’s
the one smokes in Sanskrit wisps,
the other looks good in red.
The one holds open doors,
the other can do mental math.
One’s hair curls like laughter.
The other gets jokes before anybody else. 
They find excuses to touch each other--
crumpled leaves on clothes, crumbs on cheeks,
the effects of embrace on the overall health of the circulatory system.
Sometimes it works.



Whoever says winter can’t be tender

has never sat in an armchair
on a frozen lake, reading the paper,
or seen bark on a dying tree
twist from pith and hang like payos,

or waited like an acorn
entombed, for months, for the warmth of a
red squirrel’s mouth,

or watched the American flag
catch and release gust after gust,
or dived through wind like waves headlong or
blushed till red and raw.


M Kirschner photo

Molly Kirschner’s first book of poetry, Hard Proof, was published with Red Mountain Press in July of 2015, and was the number one bestselling book from Small Press Distribution in the month of June. Her second collection, Notes for Further Research, is forthcoming from Red Mountain Press in the fall of 2017. Her poems have been published in Off Course Literary Journal, Otis Nebula Magazine, The Broadkill Review, Crab Fat Magazine, The Legendary, Rufous City Review, River Poets Journal, Poetry Quarterly Magazine, and the Torrid Literature Journal, and have appeared in Italian translation in the literary magazine Atelier and in the journal Perigeion.
See more of her work in Offcourse #63, In Praise of the Ocean and Other Poems.


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