The Kite Elegies

by Carol Lynne Knight

 

1.

if my bones were hollow

and my heart a kite

I might flirt with clouds,

wag my tail of torn sheets

and twine, charm the wind

to lift me pas de deux

into the sky, a dance

of hawks and dragons,

tissue paper pulse and crackle,

you might be my tether,

my hillside,

or I may cleave to

the wind and snap

the delicate cord

that binds us

 

2.

my heart, the kite

soars a mile into

the clouds (cirrus

strangers sighing

at the end of the bar,

smoke rings thundering,

flickering neon — auroras

singing a last embrace)

I am a dancing paper bird

an origami swan, fierce

and untethered, drifting

into trouble.

 

3.

trouble begins with a hole

in your heart, a rip, if you are

paper,

 

and when rain cascades across

your body, you will fall,

bridle twisting, rag tail heavy,

a brutish storm,

 

I kiss the sun, but still

descend in an awkward tango,

spine yielding to the devil

in the wind, spiraling

like leaves in autumn

before they scatter

on pavement.

 

Oh! impact — sparks fly

from the power line and I,

who danced in the clouds,

a wonder of lift and grace,

crash in an oak tree,

my tail raveled

and bridle, cut,

no more face,

just bamboo

struts and spine

not kite, not heart,

just gravity.

 

4.

old kite string

wrapped around

an oak branch

for so long, it has

embedded in the bark,

 

the struts and spine

lost — tinder or trash —

 

but this string,

after that first rain,

lightning, thunder

shredding the sky,

its loosened tangle

landing bebop rag-

doll after the fall,

conjured a new way

to name itself —

now “branch,”

now “tree.”

As co-director of Anhinga Press, Carol Lynne Knight has edited and designed more than 100 literary publications, including books by Naomi Shihab Nye, the late Robert Dana and Judith Kitchen, and Diane Wakoski.

 

Her book of poems, Quantum Entanglement (Apalachee Press) was released in 2010. Her poetry has appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Louisiana Literature, Tar River Review, Earth’s Daughters, The Ledge, Slipstream, Broome Review, Comstock Review, , Redactions, Iconoclast, Epicenter, HazMat, So to Speak , and J, and in the anthologies Off the Cuffs (Soft Skull Press), Touched by Eros (Live Poets Society), The Poets Guide to the Birds (Anhinga Press), and Beloved on the Earth, (Holy Cow! Press. She is a winner of the Penumbra Poetry Prize in 1996, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is a fellow of the Hambidge Center for the Arts and the Bowers House. She is the co-editor of Snakebird: Thirty Years of Anhinga Poets.

 

Born in Traverse City, Michigan, she grew up in South Florida and graduated from the University of Miami and Florida State University. She has exhibited her drawings, pottery, sculpture and digital images throughout the eastern United States. In other lives, she has worked as an art teacher, potter, videographer, copywriter, and graphic designer. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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August 2018

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