April 4, 2015


Dane Karnick grew up by the Colorado “Rockies” and lives near Seattle.  His poetry recently appeared in Pacifica Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Poppy Road Review, and Alba.  Visit him at www.danekarnick.com.

Playing With Yesterday
After the photograph by Helen Geld, 2013

A tincture of sunlight
dabs a couple of firs
around the old seminary
as brother and sister run
where Mother Mary once stood
above Lake Washington
but the urge to pursue
the black apparel has
abandoned this place like
a few cirrus curls
fading above the play of
children in a game of chase
their small arms fluttering
toward the smoking room
for priests at break time
yet no adolescent will
chant Miserere mei Deus
past the student rooms where
boys shuffled pages
through Leviticus and
prayed at their bedsides
so the blessing from Rome
departs this fine wasteland
of Romanesque Revival
the way laughter scatters
after kids jump in cars
which vanish through the trees.

One-Track Mind

bolted to seams of
El Paso ground
jabs the horizon
with ceaseless rail
offering my brain
unbroken prayer
to unravel
what’s ahead
and behind
its gray matter
while stepping
over planks
caked by weeds
that embellish
this continuum
of wood and steel
zipping the earth
along the edge
of vista’s
swollen iris
which collapses
under the weight
of geography
burying me
in a coffin
of panorama
shutting out
my name.

Last Generation

No tractor in sight
this struggling crop
stripped of grace to
loiter on my tongue
what it means to be
a single shaft of wheat
tickling my face
            with its ancestors.


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