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Katie Hartsock


The Bump on a Log Hotel


The problem with waiting for the answer

is the answer

has been waiting longer.

That wish to be brave,

to rise before dawn and ride to the woods

and, as night burns into fog

hovering between dirt and treetops and

then gone, to wait for the answer—

that wish wakes late,

takes a to-go styrofoam coffee

to the closest municipal lot,

sinks in a slept-in yellow shirt upon clover

near accidental clumps of daffodils,

and understandably attracts bees.



The I’m Not As Good As I Once Was, But I’m As Good Once As I Ever Was Motel


The sailboat filled with soil

is set on the lawn by the great lake,

its kilter slightly starboard

from such anchorage. Nothing sprouts

from its survey of black dirt;

but the distressed blue wooden beams of its siding,

and the rusted blue iron handrails

along the gravel path, and the insular blue

of the great lake sky all seem destined

to coalesce and grow old together here today.

Everything good is better in syntax,

next to something else.

A couple at the end of the middle of their lives

sit close on a bench, taking in

these moving gardens of juxtaposition.

On the beach a man makes his long-tailed kite

waltz in serpentine curves coloring space.

The couple stands to walk through a field

where the great lakeshore collation of tall grass and oaks

has been fenced off and designated

an IBA (Important Bird Area),

and through that area they agree

arm in arm, and around them

important wings fly and settle and fly, and again.


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