sho Borrowings | The Poetry of Lee Kisling


Soon to be published in Sixfold 



Here is the imaginary library
where you can borrow a father—a book
you didn’t finish. Old books about fathers
and grandfathers with brittle pages,
pictures and maps of Kansas and Iowa
may show signs of wear. They are anecdotal—
the price of a horse, the hot weather in September.

Here, the reading room.
Empty chairs and morning sun
slanting through the windows,
the slow quiet turning of pages. Shhhh.
No howl here—no keening, no Shall We Gather,
but someone has written these books because
someone needs to read them.

I will be your father if you’ll be my daughter.
a loaner to get you around the town;
oh what a family we could be—
understudies, bound to say
sorry, I loved you,
and goodbye.