Marc McKee


Standing in the middle of a land this vast
             you can nearly apprehend the curvature
                                         of the earth.

Every weight seems connected, each measure
           inept.  Venus tonight

brighter than the stars
           over this ex-plantation house, one pillar

               an inch off the ground, So many ghosts—

A great concrete bowl out back,
           once used to boil sorghum and cane

           now a coy fountain.

Not far from here, all but one of the children
            of master and mistress

                                          burned beyond inheritance.

See the horizon?  See a line
            of undriven railroad spikes laid out

                                          like a long ammunition belt?

In front of the air-conditioned guest shack
            a windmill, a dirty calico crying.

If I could, I’d bring the wild and plain eclectica
            of each instant to bear:

wells, back roads, plush and agèd trees,
            Cessnas, mustard, the force of water, voices

                                        cut into wax, grooves like cracked riverbeds

swelling at the prick of a needle, up-wail, outcry,
            the knowledge that corsets alone

                                        kept the whaling industry afloat at the end—

Each sail would fill like a heart
            at a crucial part of a recovered letter.

I’d guide a circuit of such sweet power
            the air would tilt.  We would contend with

the withering advance of sorrow that calls itself History
            as we are:  arcing combustions

                                        mortal and deft.

Marc McKee is the author of What Apocalypse? (New Michigan Press, 2008), Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press, 2014), as well as the collections Consolationeer and Meta Meta Make-Belief, forthcoming in late 2017 and early 2019, respectively, from Black Lawrence Press. His work appears widely in journals that included, most recently Conduit, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, H_NGM_N, Laurel Review, Memorious, and Rockhurst Review. He teaches in Columbia, MO, where he lives with his wife Camellia Cosgray and their son, Harold.