There’s something burning

in the thicket. I run to it

with a recorder at first

blush of indigo. The pair

of buntings netted in brambles;
I hear their cries; I want
their wounds. Is life
worth living? Maybe;

the hidden life. The bower
seems another guidebook
with green leaves. So as
Ulysses S. Grant is folded
in my wallet, I will go
intrepidly into thicket;

for U.S. has engulfed me
but not consumed me.


On second thought, the merchants will not open. I like it best, or better, when the merchants open, for the hollow in their throats is the same as, not different than, the hollow in my backyard after shoveling, a long night of hacking & pitching. Stripped to the waist, it is almost as if I am a gravedigger laying the green turf on the pan of my spade, which is an open tool unlike a hammer. I think the merchants would become vulnerable if I took a hammer to their plate glass. Why is it that I hold a shovel when a hammer will do just as well, or why is it that I swipe their card processors rather than love letters? The night deserves a talking- to; I have so much to say to the merchants who keep from me their funny business.


We went back to our quiet lives, & displaying our marigold spirit we prepared for the strangers that would inhabit Cape Cod. Look at us in our handsome waistcoats, they said as they arrived, gray-beards with ruffled collars. They came to us with salted gills & Mayfair speech. They came with coins in their mouths, albeit professing a windblown currency. Thousands were fed when they dis-proportioned their skin & bones. The strangers fished around & told us of ourselves, as we once were, as we are still.


L.S. Klatt has published poems recently in Colorado Review, Washington Square, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review and New Orleans Review. New work will appear in The Common, Narrative, Blackbird and The Michigan Poet. His second collection, Cloud of Ink, won the Iowa Poetry Prize. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His poem, “The Suit of Magnetic Stripes,” appears in HFR 52.