Les Kay is the author of Fronts (Sundress Publications, forthcoming 2016), and the chapbooks The Bureau (Sundress Publications, 2015) and Badass (Lucky Bastard Press, 2015), as well as a co-author of Heart Radicals (ELJ Publications, 2016) with Sandra Marchetti, Allie Marini, and Janeen Pergrin Rastall. He holds a PhD with a focus on Creative Writing from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA from the University of Miami, where he was a James Michener Fellow. His poetry has appeared widely in journals such as The Collagist, Redactions, South Dakota Review, Southern Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Whiskey Island, and The White Review. He is also an Associate Editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection. He currently lives in Cincinnati where he teaches writing and cares for three small dogs. Follow him at: http://www.leskay.com.
-After Gustav Mahler’s 7th Symphony
A broken man weeps on the serpentine
shore of the Seine;
Violins in vibrato counterpoint cellos.
he taps out times in search of a signature
to defy everything he’s ever learned.
A piccolo, or is it a rose, jaunts between arpeggios—
The hermetic rhythm of his daughter’s laugh
returns for a moment in slivers of song.
Pizzicato strings slap fingerboards;
a mandolin begins its thistled serenade.
She has been silent now for far too long.
Timbres entwine like crow and cardinal
in the throat of a white-winged mockingbird.
Bursts of cloud.