Kathleen Boyle

Kathleen Boyle has recently appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and other publications including Zyzzyva, The Seattle Review, and The Atlantic Online. She works as a Public Defender.


Fire at the Grand Storehouse of the Tower of London, 1841

You paint my destruction
from beyond the moat
crowds heave as you paint
and go on painting
three days it takes
page after page cadmium quick
your hands as I throw
my insides to the sky
as you are jostled
as I burn and simmer
flare center-red quinacridone
churn wheels of manganese smoke
you are bristle and water
wash after wash
I am a yellow heartbeat
as you curse bitter
they would not let you close
your spilt paints vermillion
yet still you see things rise
to the right are steeples and trees
huge mass burns alizarin to the left
whirlpool cesspool tornados out
shoves in. My tower my
drawbridge gone
your paintbox your paper
your nine sheaths.



Sierra Valley

Sunstroke, brushstroke: morning source of swallows, their orderless
streaming, of colors, of things that swoop and twirl. I wanted to hold onto
them, frenzied, the way they flew together, in dawn, in dusk, across the
high yellow valley, across dry fields and marshes. I stood there to catch it –
the spinning, the circling that knows to move together. Night comes down
on the bridge where the swallows rest, moonstroke, then barely sunrise
and streaming birds, streaming light. How did we do so much damage?
Again the whole swirls, day’s wheel, now singular, now angular.

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