Kathleen Hellen


Gin blossoms twisting on the tip.
Something like a nose for it. A bar room. Yes,
he could teach you—

How to hear with feet.
How to live without a head.

In the compound eye’s mosaic,
intensity blooms
like coltsfoot over-wintered. Like fruit.

She’s bait gel in the clover. Jail bait
for the feral,
if ever he were caught,
if ever there were eater-birds,
spiders, crabs that specialized in
special victims—

something’s buzzing. He strokes the neck.
A Bud, a draft. He licks the foam
like nectar from his lips.


bark, a siren in her wailing. Snow
through the kindle of trees, falling fast on her shoulders,
in clumps on her sleeves.

She steps into the moons of light that drench the gravel,
steps out from her rabbit hole of habit,
her rabbit coat extracted

from the fact of his indifference.
With fists balled up,
with snow to hurt the windows,
she hurls like ice and hard— his blinded room.


Kathleen Hellen is a poet and the author of Umberto’s Night (Washington Writers
Publishing House, 2012) and The Girl Who Loved Mothra (Finishing Line Press, 2010).
Her poems are widely published and have appeared in American Letters & Commentary;
Barrow Street; Cimarron Review; Nimrod; Poetry Northwest; Prairie Schooner; Stand;
Sycamore Review; Witness; among others; and were featured on WYPR’s The Signal.