Homepage photograph via Flickr by quinet

Dear Sarah, I’m writing to admit to you I’ve never made much of a Viking.
But you, your last name even sounds like stabbing. Your arm thrust in the air
drives the hibiscus to form a violet cloud out by the lighthouse.
Greetings from cattle-country Australia and moo.
I’m writing to tell you your figure is much too fine for insurance.
I could see you in some heavy chainmail. I could see you eating off a spit.
In Australia, an artist built an exhibit out of mirrors and ladders where he claimed
you could climb from heaven to hell. No one tried it. He lives on a beach now.
Maybe it is just like that. We’re trapped in an era where simplicity may be ingenuity,
where what tempts me isn’t all that elaborate. Sometimes, Sarah
a train passes so close to my body I can taste the silence
and I think my effort to describe it’s both heroic and orthodox. I never
imagined how hard it would be here in the land of elephantine plants.
The shadow of my family line falls over me, or is it a line of latitude?
I pray past the hills mottled with flowers, the combusted silo,
past the ships silver with fish, the sky offering up a rib.

Kyle McCord

Kyle McCord is the author of two books of poetry. Galley of the Beloved in Torment was the winner of the 2008 Orphic Prize. His second book, co-written with poet Jeannie Hoag, is a book of epistolary poems entitled Informal Invitation to a Traveler. His work has been featured in Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Journal, Gulf Coast, Third Coast, Volt, and elsewhere. He co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry.