Casey Patrick


Who hasn’t stood atop a mountain or skyscraper,
or paused trimming meat in the kitchen
and thought, I could. A move so small
it’s nearly accidental.

After days of nothing
but blue it all starts to blur. So many are expecting me
to fail, it would almost be a shame
to fail them. The night a black loop,
so dark I can’t see my hands. My navigator
snores beside me, smoke signals
of breath small reminders: I exist.

Here’s how it’ll go when we land:
my name in the headlines for days, in a record book
no one will open. The stars and their useless shine.
But my want is untamable. (I exist.) I’ve been a silhouette, then a mirage.
I could do it. Slip into the vanishing
like the moon disappearing into day.


Je est un autre. —Arthur Rimbaud

I. I is someone else

In the alley, unbuttoning your shirt.
Tending rugburned knees the next morning. Alive
in the wild body of summer,
burning. At Hawk’s Tattoos, watching my face in the mirror
as the needle sings on my ribs
and my body is a music I nearly recognize.

II. I is another

In the car when you held my hand
as we sat by the depot
among the detached trains
I listened hard enough
I heard you blink
like some kind of pulse.

III. I is an other

You asked me to show you the city.
I showed you my hands, a better map.
At the river, you watched the water move
and I watched myself want.


Casey Patrick’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, The Adroit Journal, Passages North, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and others. She was awarded the 2014-2015 Writers House Residency by Hub City Writers Project and currently lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches with The Loft Literary Center.