Kathleen Winter

Finally the girls

just have to talk about their hearts.
My heart keeps me up all night;

I’m extremely adjacent to it.
My heart’s the warm helium core,

I’m a thin film of rubber
which keeps it from escaping into

rain that’s more fast footsteps than
hands, more rockslide is my heart

as it makes itself felt, horse
in a restaurant corridor

blocking the bathroom.
How many times did I

try to deport it with poisons--
liquid, pills or granular--

but my heart is myriad nests
recurring like fire ants in the yard

or in seams between river rocks
that form the porch’s floor.

Louder than storm or dream
my heart accelerates

in the tail lights, mass of leather-
legged, leather-jacketed long-haired

& hairless bikers—how many?
fifty sixty seventy? I pull to

the shoulder, it keeps streaming
foreign & familiar, I can’t think

of anything else till it’s over.


Kathleen Winter is the author of I will not kick my friends (2018), winner of the Elixir Poetry Prize, and Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, winner of the Texas Institute of Letters Bob Bush Memorial Award. Her poems have appeared in journals including The New Republic, New Statesman, Agni, Prairie Schooner, Tin House, Cincinnati Review and Poetry London. She received fellowships from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Brown Foundation at Dora Maar House, James Merrill House, Cill Rialaig Project, and Vermont Studio Center. Her awards include the Rochelle Ratner Memorial Prize, the Ralph Johnston Fellowship, and a Poetry Society of America The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award.