Kai Carlson-Wee | Poetry
I went to a place where the wind had died,
where the sun was resting its heaviest light
on the clouds, where the water was perfect
and looked like glass. What was the point of
forgiveness again? That year of forgetting
your face. The snow came down. The
speedboats covered themselves in tarps,
engine oil drained. The eagle I knew stood
perfectly still in the crown of a Norway
pine. I stayed for months, watching birds.
Seasons changed. Women came and went,
leaving clothes, antique rings, cigarette butts
in the cans. I woke at night to the sound of
wolves, shivering in my chair. I kept a knife
beneath the bed. Once a week I went for
food, beer and bottled water for my hair. I
called my mom. I knew the couple down the
road—Rosie and Ray Albers. They loaned
me books and DVDs, dropped me off a
hotdish now and then. I learned to walk
away from words. At night I burned the
candles in the glass. Flame to flame.
Shadows crawling softly through the woods.
I saw a falcon kill a robin in the spring.
Took it straight out of the air. Put a talon
through its throat and flew away. I don’t
know why I stayed so long. I stayed until I
wrote the book. I stayed until your face
became the lake, the snowy roads, the birds.
Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of Rail (BOA Editions). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work has appeared in Ploughshares, Best New Poets, AGNI, New England Review, Gulf Coast, and The Missouri Review. His photography has been featured in Narrative Magazine, and his poetry film, Riding the Highline, has screened at film festivals across the country. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and is a lecturer at Stanford University.Lake Arrowhead by Clarisse Meyer