To say they swam is image enough. And it was
not still summer, the water cold and chopped
by some knife of wind. Their heads only
above water. And I no longer know what is
moving under the surface. But to say they swam
is image enough. Most things that have left me
in this life have not done so wrapped in twine.
Though maybe I have done the pushing gone
and the throwing away, and each morning
I still have hands to toss the sheets to side
and place my feet on ground. We are all
in this hurting thing. How it moves
like river water, all around, and how it settles
like the circle tides of bays. Two of those three
died that day, in that moment after journeying,
just after bleeding on the riprap and touched
by human hands. Is to say they swam
image enough? Their eyes wide and too white
like a stranger drunk who tells you he loves you
for the very first time. I do not know
how or why or who am I to play some part
in all this dying, only that, as a child,
I ran away from home so often my father
kept a banana packed and ready for my leaving.
And these three deer, and just one left
after such display of sorrow, weaving through
what trees still stand in this city, how it
must wonder what home exists for all its
swimming, as it dances through a city yard.
Devin Kelly is an MFA student at Sarah Lawrence College, where he serves as the nonfiction editor of LUMINA. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Armchair/Shotgun, Post Road, RATTLE, The Millions, Appalachian Heritage, Midwestern Gothic, Meat for Tea, apt, Big Truths, Kindred, Dunes Review, Steel Toe Review, Cleaver Magazine, Passages North, Lines & Stars, and District Lit. He co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series in Upper Manhattan, and teaches Creative Writing and English classes to 7th graders and high schoolers in Queens, as well as the occasional children’s poetry workshop at the New York Public Library in Harlem, where he currently lives. You can find him on Twitter @themoneyiowe.