Killarney Clary
Three Poems

El Paso. Eleventh floor of the hotel in a dust storm with eight hundred miles of interstate ten vibrating behind my eyes. Two nights ago there were two of us. East of Redlands, I was away, and couldn’t remember or predict. There spun the windmill blades defiantly, making use.

I hear grains of grit tick against the glass and a howl that won’t let up. No time to inhale. On point, I might fall cynical, fall sentimental; they are the same. I want you to stand in front of me and be other. The walll of umber air thins for a span and the city sharpens. I figure as I watch the depot sign dim and clear without pattern the number of interruptions, the shortest distance.



The boy hand told a rhyme as he unfastened his pants. He was scolded, ended up in the cab of a big rig with this man he slightly knew, under a clear sky on the straight desert interstate.

To the driver the receiver acknowledged the quick shift, a cold front. Both were in shirt sleeves, laughing. Now the driver went back to the icy waiting room to fetch the boy. On the green vinyl chair he was propped, blood clotting at his mouth; he was shivering. The driver picked him up like an armful of tissue paper. Ifelt that. I felt his young feathery beath. “My poor boy,” I moaned. I was lifted. I was light as dried leaf, dried brittle star, headlights through falling snow. I was high above the road, traveling.



The last sure thing that night was my patent leather shoe. Darkness lifted me in his warm shirt and cold jacket. Old voices. Lighted wheel rolling on the lake. The pulse of my day lost its measure; I could feel endlessness and belong there. The lights fell and touched themselves and rose up—by motions repeated, taken and complete.

Found In Volume 30, No. 01
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Killarney Clary
About the Author
Killarney Clary’s poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Boston Review and Yale Review, among others. Her book Who Whispered Near Me (1990) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts in 2011.