Back to Issue Fourteen.

meditation on the groundhog



One channel reruns the show
whose talking horse was magic.

Popular. Likable, with a common name.
The name makes me want to be alive

in the 50s, cooking from boxes.
Watching ketchup commercials, my wrist

limp over an ashtray, smoke
going over my ring, a friend

stopping by to gossip, to say
her refrigerator is on the fritz.

In my sad dreams, everyone is there,
wearing cardboard and glitter

tiara headbands for the year
about to be born. A band plays.

These days I fold into poses
with animal names, pulling

pretend rain toward the ceiling.
Textured yard eight feet away.

Acres of snow and one red bird
so far away I can’t fix my eyes on it.

At that range, the bird may be a branch.
Have I tried calling anyone. Has anyone

tried gently shaking the groundhog
like a Magic Eight Ball to achieve

a better forecast, a shorter winter.
As I see it. Outlook good. Without

a doubt. Concentrate and ask again.
Ask another way. Be the blue water

between question and answer
or the plastic orb in the warm hand.



date night in our own hollows



Dear Francis, Every story you want to be
about you will not be about you.
I get a feel for your discomfort.

You bring me breakfast in bed
with your fixed teeth and love
like the desk the movers brought in
through a window.

I worried the window would break,
the whole apartment would splinter.

I don’t always look for a reason to leave,
but when I look I find one.

We empty the floors of dust.
We shed more to clean.

If the water comes back I am prepared
with a six-pack of blue sponges.

Either you get a checkup and no bill
or you fall into the shadows
on the X-ray and do not come out
of there. A green sound in your back.

Make me look like healthy wood
on a table of unhealthy wood.
Make me an enormous ceramic.

This green sound in my back.

I tear through a field like it’s my last,
the last for at least one hundred miles.
This looks less lovely than it feels.

My hair prepared with flowers.

I scrape my knees and say, “Sunset.”
My knees look worse in mercurochrome.
Orange-red stain, rusting the skin.

Easily mistaken for a wound, a blood.

Gina Keicher is the author of the poetry collection Wilderness Champion (Gold Wake Press, 2014) and the chapbook Here is My Adventure I Call it Alone (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She is an associate editor for Black Lawrence Press. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in BOAAT, Pinwheel, Powder Keg, and Whiskey Island. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

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