Offcourse Literary Journal

Two Poems, by Ward Kelley.


There is no rescue for you, no mind
so sweet it can save you from your own,
no body so strong it can hold you back,
no poem so pure it will release you
from this task of breathing.

There in the street, you stand looking
up at the window as though it were a moon
or some other body which has earned
this howling.

One to go, one to stay..
It has always been this way
for you and all your ancestors,
one to stay, one to go forth.

So when you went, it compelled
an immediate absence,
an instant need to howl,
impelled by the emptiness
in your chest.

Look, it is you,
there, in the moon.


The Lever

  You may be the finest of us all, you are
surely the most patient, even in the midst
of all the daily battles and firestorms.

I'm not sure where you picked up this
patience, surely not from any of us,
although I see it serves you well,
even though it can also be a burden.

And this is one of your lessons for us,
how all virtues are also chores, and all
that you can bestow will also become
a gift to yourself. You have discovered
early this hidden lever of gracious life.


Ward Kelley's work has appeared numerous times in Offcourse, and in many other journals such as Plainsong, Another Chicago Magazine, The Chaffin Journal, Rattle, Midstream, Ginger Mills, Sunstone, Pif, Whetstone, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, Poetry and Skylark. He received the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001.


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