PALLIATIVE CARE DRIVE
On the front steps of the hospital,
anyone entering must go around
the ones who exit,
who have stopped to blink back the light.
They sometimes shiver
precisely because it is so hot.
Further along, still in the space
between worlds, there is usually
someone smoking, the way
soldiers will between battles—
to be lost in something other than thought.
They stare ahead like a cliffside
at the chasm.
A long oval loop of driveway
takes you from the main road
and takes you back…
but while you are anywhere on that loop,
you are not in the world.
POLAROID WITH CRACKED INSULATION
In that photograph,
we stand with our rifles
in the clearcut
where the power lines
were brought through.
He is still a head taller
and stands close to me,
closer in the photo than
I remember from life.
I remember, he couldn’t see
the point in being photographed
without a trophy.
He would not have wasted film
on nothing killed.
The lines above our heads
narrow behind us and point to
the distant mountains.
They crackled as if they contained
more than could be asked.
Around other stars, they do not know us.
My father left before we could meet.
I am not sure if he finished his work or not.
Whatever was left undone still waits for a hand.
See the old smoke house.
The sun parts shadows of smoke
on brown grass.
The color of times to come, times past.
Shadows of smoke among blades of grass
which do not suspect
they are a form of smoke.
Wooden walls made mostly of smoke,
a world of words spoken by smoke.
The sun warm in a cold wind —
our now is a never anywhere else.
My daughter wants to be buried under a sapling,
when it comes to that, and become a tree.
I walked the woods and saw
that nothing could violate its youth.
Eleven years old, wise girl,
wise to transformation.
Kristofor Minta was raised in rural Arkansas and earned a BA from Vanderbilt University. Since then, he’s lived in New York City, London, and Seattle. In 2013, he closed his shop in Seattle, Spine and Crown Books, to join the Creative Writing program at Syracuse University. He currently works for Syracuse University in the Office of Disability Services. Kristofor’s poems have appeared in the commonplace book, To Die No More, (Blind Pony Books), Prelude Magazine, The Cossack Review, Juked, Tammy, and the Corbel Stone Press Contemporary Poetry Series. His manuscript, The Palliative Suite, was a finalist in the 2018 National Poetry Series. Work on his current manuscript, A Perfectly Ruined Solitude, will be supported by a 2019 Saltonstall Foundation residency.
He can be found online at www.kristoforminta.com