Poems: Siân Killingsworth


Dead rose petals spell out reversed desire.
Trails of wasted effort.

I hook a finger under the rim of his jaw
and pull it toward me like a drawer.

Such is the nature of my resentment, the pitched
wail swallowed whole and ground to a grunt.

I want to whisper down the trouble
but I’m finding nothing more than good grief

chewing through tedium in cafeterias I have known
their sage green Formica and coral linoleum not so tropical,

suffering through beige, putty, dust-scolored waiting room kindnesses.
I dash out into doomtime streets—

Is this my prison?
I’m running. I’m drowning.

How can you cure tears? They already are—
No, look at butterflies,

they drink the tears from crocodiles,
eat the salt, digest that pain.

How to whisper a hurricane into silence?
I’m laughing affably but he’s not funny;

I’m the last sound made by a smoldering instrument
as ashes settle upon us like snow.



We are guided by unseeing ones.
We sing melancholy, helpless.
A forgotten goddess descends,
presents us with a small heuristic of navigation.
It confiscates stars. We cannot see.

Our bodies meld, become one
abandoned heart waiting
like cicada husks in oak trees.
Those translucent gray-brown shells, the life
crawled out of them.

All we can hope for
is the drained bottles,
the hastily scrawled messages,
the solitude. But we have no sea.
We dream in fragments.

Darkness overtakes our breaths,
our soft eyelids, the elevens of night.
Evening gathers force. This is
the soul’s graduated evaporation. A slow
battle in four parts.


Siân Killingsworth’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Typehouse Literary Journal, Stonecoast Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist), Columbia Poetry Review, Mom Egg Review, Oakland Review, and others. She has an MFA in poetry from the New School, where she served on the staff of Lit. She is a current board member of the Marin Poetry Center and recently started writing poetry reviews. Read more about her at www.sianessa.com

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