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Poetry: 'Ruby Throated' & Other Poems by Kelli Russell Agodon


This poet loves not just other poets but also hummingbirds.

This poet sews the clouds into the sky and keeps pointing at the moon.

This poet doesn’t hum, but whirrs and feels it misnamed by a man.

This poet is equal or lesser to other hummingbirds.

This poet wonders if humming is enough.

This poet wears a monocle and top hat on Sunday.

This poet hides in the hedge during windstorms.

This poet waits for more sugar water to be poured.

This poet puts its face in every flower.

This poet mistakes bright plastic for something more.

This poet visits the ghost of my father, rests upon his grave.

I Don’t Want to Subscribe to Your Newspaper,

But I Would Very Much Like to Read Your Article

The earth was a river bed

of pillow frogs. A dewdrop of morning

light after the night’s inconsolable cry.

Everything was blue except the sky.

In the corner, there were no cobwebs,

but the room wanted to sell me insurance

in case there were. Every deer that crossed

the road was a reality show. Every cloud,

a news report. I was trying to change

the channel by turning the snowberries off.

I know you heard me—help me find what’s left

of night with my hands. Help me find the right

way to unplug a fallen nightfall.

Like the Best Relationships,

Starfish Can Regenerate

When I kiss your face, my lipstick

leaves a watermark on your cheek.

I write love letters

across your forehead because today

I adore you and tomorrow

I may not. We are a failed cake

and a lost baker. We are tossing

what we thought could feed us

out into the trash. One day

I thought we were a rom-com,

but we were the sitcom, the intercom

shouting out complaints. When I kiss

your face, I taste the salt of you

and I become the sailor while you become

my wake. The waves are endless

but the ocean is calm. Some days

you’re the sparkle of the shrimp pot

I’ve pulled from the deepest waters,

and some days you’re the sweetest

starfish that’s hitched a ride to the top.

Kelli Russell Agodon’s newest book is Dialogues with Rising Tides from Copper Canyon Press. She is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her other books include Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, Hourglass Museum, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice (coauthored with Martha Silano), and Fire on Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State on traditional lands of the Chimacum, Coast Salish, S'Klallam, and Suquamish people where she is an avid paddleboarder and hiker. She teaches at Pacific Lutheran University’s low-res MFA program, the Rainier Writing Workshop. Kelli is currently part of a project between local land trusts and artists to help raise awareness for the preservation of land, ecosystems, and biodiversity called Writing the Land. /

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