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The Elephants

Three Poems

Kate Colby

The Kiss

Seeing as it is
in pieces, speech
makes its mouth out.

Pinned by a limb
of indistinct stars
we run together.

Our silence forced
roots in a bed of gravel

means more than all the ways
I wouldn’t think to say without you.


On my first day
back from the dead

I return to the world
what I took to the grave—

shame, lies, un-
remembered dreams

(my site a future forest).

With baffled clarity
of a window on night

I see myself wrong

end of periscope,
its eye there.


I don’t remember weather
in my dreams, only light

and ambient blackness.

As cell towers made
to look like trees,

a seed

falls to pavement

pushing back—

I dream in all the languages
but only speak the last.


Does day replace night
or just upstage it?

At the end of the street-

light, black
stars strain.

The difference in
silhouette and shadow

is complete (this
speech is so me)—

I have no words
to begin with.

This Space

speaks volumes

into the room

we think our minds

the furthest reach

of evolution

what’s visible is

the size of light.

Kate Colby’s seventh book of poetry, The Arrangements, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2018. She has received awards and fellowships from Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room, the Poetry Society of America and Rhode Island State Council for the Arts. She lives and works as a copywriter in Providence.

This originally appeared on August 4, 2017