Kelli Russell Agodon

Torn (Old Fabric)

I've begun praying again      because I don't trust
the sand to hold me             or maybe I was born
with stitches on the edges         of my heart
a flimsy doll who thought she       could swim
thought she could fill the lake      with her tears
maybe the world has wings        and it's what
keeps us floating between             storm surges
or maybe there's a string tied          from the lip
of America to a hook in the ceiling     of a galaxy &
like a disco ball we spin hoping         our mirrors
catch light    like watercolors we      want to mix
we kneel as the anthem begins       we pray  we float
underwater   we praise  we write        our roof is falling
meteors   remember our dandelion     crowns how
beautiful we thought we were when      we painted
our chins with buttercups  lucky child        you loved
this world more when you couldn't see     its tears.


Kelli Russell Agodon is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her most recent book, Hourglass Museum, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Poetry Prize. Her second book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was the winner of the Foreword Indies Book of the Year for poetry and was also a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Her work has been featured on NPR, ABC News and appeared in magazines and journals like The Atlantic, Harvard Review, APR, The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day and O, The Oprah Magazine. She also coauthored The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, with poet Martha Silano. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State where she is an avid paddleboarder.