A Poem by Kelli Russell Agodon

April 28, 2021  By Kelli Russell Agodon

Tonight under an unkissed moon—
the recipe is disappearing, a dialogue
with rising tides and a lightship
crashing against a blue shore of healing.
When I struggle in a diorama

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of traffic, I become the silver orb
in a city’s pinball machine—be here now
—flung against the pulsing lights
and hectic newspapers that papier-mâché
themselves to my legs, my life, I forget

it’s been years since I’ve seen neon
flickers, now the only language I speak
is seascape, a searchlight, a map
made of unintelligible emotions
I try to navigate. If I could be any age,

I’d be the heartbeat just before
the butter melts, where everything
is soft and easy, a cookbook
for a sacred life. And when I’m desperate
for spices, I go to the bodega to buy love,

but the owner gives me wine and a new pen,
says, This is probably better—and how can I
argue? I had forgotten to pack a lunch,
forgotten how much I ache for anyone
to rest their words against my lips.

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Dialogues with Rising Tides by Kelli Russell Agodon

From Dialogues with Rising Tides by Kelli Russell Agodon. Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2021 by Kelli Russell Agodon.

Kelli Russell Agodon
Kelli Russell Agodon
Kelli Russell Agodon is a poet, writer, editor, book designer, and co-founder of Two Sylvias Press, living in the Seattle area. Her collection of poems Hourglass Museum was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and was shortlisted for the Julie Suk Award honoring the best book of poems published by a small press. She is also author of the bestselling The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice, which she co-authored with Martha Silano. She was the winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award in poetry, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, New England Review, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She is a co-director of Poets on the Coast, a writing retreat for women.

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