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Kelli Russell Agodon

Kelli Russell Agodon is the author of Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press, 2014). She is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press, where she works as an editor and book cover designer, and lives in a seaside town outside of Seattle, Washington.  

By This Poet

2

Hunger

If we never have enough love, we have more than most.
We have lost dogs in our neighborhood and wild coyotes, 
and sometimes we can’t tell them apart. Sometimes
we don’t want to. Once I brought home a coyote and told
my lover we had a new pet. Until it ate our chickens.
Until it ate our chickens, our ducks, and our cat. Sometimes
we make mistakes and call them coincidences. We hold open
the door then wonder how the stranger ended up in our home.
There is a woman on our block who thinks she is feeding bunnies, 
but they are large rats without tails. Remember the farmer’s wife?
Remember the carving knife? We are all trying to change 
what we fear into something beautiful. But even rats need to eat.
Even rats and coyotes and the bones on the trail could be the bones
on our plates. I ordered Cornish hen. I ordered duck. Sometimes 
love hurts. Sometimes the lost dog doesn’t want to be found.
 

Magpies Recognize Themselves in the Mirror

The night sounds like a murder
of magpies and we’re replacing our cabinet knobs
because we can’t change the world, but we can
change our hardware. America breaks my heart
some days, and some days it breaks itself in two.
I watched a woman have a breakdown in the mall
today and when the security guard tried to help her
what I could see was all of us
peeking from her purse as she threw it
across the floor into Forever 21. And yes,
the walls felt like another way to hold us in
and when she finally stopped crying,
I heard her say to the fluorescent lighting, Some days
the sky is too bright. And like that we were her
flock in our black coats and white sweaters,
some of us reaching our wings to her
and some of us flying away.