two poems by Koss

Koss is a writer and artist with an MFA from SAIC. She has work in or Diode Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Spillway, and others. She also has a hybrid book due out in 2020 by Negative Capability Press and work in Best Small Fictions 2020 anthology and Kissing Dynamite’s Punk Anthology. Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular.


Sad Navigations of Passerines

The weightless magpie
yaws my dream,
that damn feathered
ghost harbinger,
or neuronal flash
going off
in my dull skull?

A poem,
a black spinnery,
I’ll unbind its twine
from around me,
write myself,
out of it, up, around
and out the devil’s
like an inverted
maelstrom or a tired old
vagina—not imploding,
spiraling the edges
as a swallow
ascending silo decay
threshing ghost grains
sieved through rib cage
black bursting lung
gusting into a fleck
of white-blue light.

Obsessed with the tremor
of your voice,
I replay your message
as if hope-sounds reecho
pinning songbird throat
to time’s pining.
I’d give my future
for that voice
and did,
but did you notice?


11-Month Post-Suicide Vacation Poem – Things are Measurable, Sort Of

Day 1

1. Aspheric wide angle on the browned forest floor
2. Cabin musty of smells hanging
3. Harley women warped on wall poster—30s—both long dead
4. Man with short brush cut and beach-ball belly / fanny packed in stars and stripes feigns straightness along the shoreline as his girl becomes one with driftwood
5. Dogs couldn’t pee there
6. Mammals couldn’t walk there
7. I was tolerated but paid no money to get in
8. I’m only partially a mammal and then, barely
9. I should really have a garage sale when I get out of here
10. Broken snow shoes make nice wall décor
11. Soggy pretend barbecued chicken paired with flaccid yam fries
12. I fucked you in my dream on invitation only
13. Ophelia photo in cabin a bad idea
14. Ophelia photo anywhere a bad idea
15. Nothing happens for the best, so stop saying it
16. Anne Sexton comforted me when you died; she looked so YouTube-happy talking about death, smiling
17. Suicide is the ultimate jilting—really
18. The frogs all start singing at the same moment
19. In Australia, the cane toads fuck each other dead as jeeps drive over them, amassed as toad-road-sheet abundant afghans
20. Some things countries should never import: cane toads, ladybugs, Americans, Budweiser
21. There were other possible endings to our story
22. A choice is a fiction

Day 3

1. You people won’t break me
2. Cashier dripped nose onto my grocery bag
3. Lately, I only dream in written words others write
4. Memory is pine resin sticky
5. Memory does not stick
6. You said you loved me
7. Freckles, just a smattering
8. A whole galaxy, gone
9. You should be here with me
10. You should be somewhere
11. I should too, be a somewhere-thing
12. A magpie sits on the lampshade
13. Even if it isn’t a magpie, I make it so
14. Crow, on the light switch cover too
15. The light won’t glow behind the magpie-crow shade: opacity
16. I talk to you even more now that you’re gone
17. I hope you’re getting some rest over there
18. I still worry about you finding me attractive or not
19. Humans look better in clothes
20. There’s no one here to keep you alive
21. Someone else drives your car now

Day 4

1. Inner self
2. Inner tubes
3. Floating
4. Yellow weeds grow out of sand, browning flowers, no assists
5. Sun beats smooth like a skin drum
6. Her short black dress sways opposite her skeleton
7. A man runs up the sand, catches up and wraps around her
8. Mine, says the hand, the hand on the handy wrap man
9. Her white skin shocks through black straps dropping
10. Beach lovers, silent picture
11. July is our anniversary
12. Some July. A previous July. Better. We met.
13. Some August you die
14. Some August you will always die
15. Flies are still biting my legs
16. They will die for a bite as I slap absent-mindedly
17. Their lives tiny

Day 5 – What Remains?

1. Sketched a map of your lavender in the fire rings, so when I’m old, I’ll find them
2. Why is that woman traveling alone
3. Not happiness, something underneath the sand, beneath feet
4. I can’t believe you forgot your body
5. The horse-headed boy gallops back and forth along the platform
6. The old dyke at rock shop was cold—does she think no one knows
7. I should feel happy for the beach lovers but don’t
8. A Mexican-American woman transformed her life with tomatoes
9. She saved her suicidal friend with beaches, free ones, and screened-in porches
10. I wish we had gone to the beach like we intended
11. Wish you had known her
12. Wish I had known her
13. That couples’ footprints along the shoreline look like one, yeah like that Jesus-God story
14. Those straight people do get carried       and carried away       the Christians
15. Men are gods
16. I found two shells, two halves of us, I thought, then lost them in the sand
17. Took a picture first
18. Thought a lot about twos when I knew you, splitting everything like a child learning to share
19. You were splitting, away
20. Snake emerging from the water is only a stick
21. I’m a tape recorder Eyes Windows Camera Obscura
22. My house is a head




4 thoughts on “two poems by Koss

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