instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

selected poems

Love Poem #279

A poet is someone who is stupid

enough to keep scratching. This doesn't mean

there are mosquitoes though there often are.

It means she loves ruin. It means she's gotten lost

in Kafka's letters to Felice. It means ruin

is a feeling she recreates under a soft blue blanket

where she spends all day saturday

writing sentences to rain.

Crows leave fat silences.

The weight of what she carries

has its own buoyancy. She wears black

boots, black dress, a bumble bee

scarf. I have seen her

buy bruised mangoes, red wine, 

and a spiral notebook. I have no doubt

her home has a signature 

smell. She is still capable of terror

at the magnolia's pale bent fingers.


Mary Kane's recent poems have appeared in Roanoke Review  and  FRiGG summer 2021


To see more of Door, the book in which the above poem appears, go to the link at amazon:



Beech Tree

You are attractive because you have a beech tree growing out of your head.

I mean, whenever you have an intricate or powerful idea, a beech tree grows out of your head and I find this incredibly attractive.

I can't decide if you are attractive because of the smooth gray bark of the tree and its coppery leaves and the great roots that reach into the seams of your occipital and parietal bones or because the tree is the physical manifestation of an idea.

You are so sexy when you sit on a bench and the tree growing from your head spreads its branches wide, casting shade over the small park in which your bench resides.

I have seen one or two other people whose ideas manifest in physical ways. One grew dandelions that quickly turned to puff and flew away, and the other grows birch trees that are beautiful but cast less shade.

A beech tree is a novel in which characters come and go in rooms darkened by wide planked wooden floors, worn tables. Where light travels across a wallpaper made of faint roses.

I like to sit in the shade of your beech tree. I like to take a sandwich from a waxed paper bag, eating while I read.

When you are finished with an idea, the tree disappears. Like that. Sun falls everywhere.


I Did My Best

I went to meet a woman at a coffee shop.

She was very small.

She looked even smaller in the tunnel-shaped coffee shop where she sat at the far end.

I walked the length of the tunnel. Hello, I said.

She was very small and had small strong hands that gripped her paper coffee filled with mint tea. A stack of books took root on her table.

She was very small and when she spoke I could see inside her mouth like seeing inside a theater, the heavy red curtain drawn aside then falling closed again.

It revealed a vast cavern inside her. Every time she opened her mouth, I did my best to glimpse more of what was inside her.

I saw bats and European cities in her. I saw a train station and a person in a long blue wool coat, the blue the color of  bluebird, walking away on a platform.

I saw a dead robin and a tree heavy with lemons and an old man moving his lips. But of course she kept closing her mouth or sipping her tea.

I wanted to look into her ears or even up her nostrils but didn't know how to manage it.

I saw a road inside her that disappeared into a horizon. I had no idea where that road led.

She was very small. Her fingernails were broken.


*For a free digital download of On Tuesday, Elizabeth, the chapbook in which the above poem appears, from Literary North's Little Dippers series, click here.