Poems by Kathryn Levy




I am broken, said the man, with
glass in his fist, and can’t you see, it’s too
late to be mended?
They passed by, they shook their heads.
I’m an angel, screeched the woman
opening her blouse, and that is why
no one will touch me.I’m a little girl,
whispered the witch in the gutter,
afraid to get up, to meet all these demons.
They ate their dinner, they
gathered their belongings. Okay, I’m a beggar,
moaned the man in the doorway, give me
even one pennyjust to show that you’ve noticed.
They shivered, they escaped into the taxis
and sped to the towers where death is prevented
for eighty-five years, or if you’re lucky enough,
in the constant trance of not stopping
—until they rip each finger from the drainpipes
and throw all the fists into the river.
I’m a river I’m a river, sing
billions of voices, come drown with me, I
am yours.


Environmental Review


A Type One Action. A rush of notes
from the music box that
always stay open. A hammer that destroys
all of the music—but the
demon of the box can’t
be defeated. Or so claims the poet
who has made up the box. A
Remedial Action—I
take all the boxes to the tiny
store of repairs. An old
man keeps poking at the
inner workings: I can
fix this next week, or at
least in a decade. —A
spotlight for dinner:
look at the foods we
still get to eat—while
faces are pressed at
every locked window, and the
moaning drowns out the last
echoes of the music. So
turn on the TV—something
better is coming. Or
repeat the word something
almost like music. Or
what was the truth I wanted
to find in this poem? A
little girl crying—I
just need my mommy. The
mommy who marched to
the home of all mommies. An
Emergency Action—
I stroke at the picture of
something called Mommy and
sway as if
there were music.


Kathryn Levy is the author of two poetry collections, Reports, a finalist for the Midwest Book Award, and Losing the Moon. Her work has appeared in many journals including Slate, The Progressive, Cimarron Review, The Seattle Review, and Hanging Loose, among others, as well as the anthologies We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon, The Light of City and Sea, Adventures in the Spirit, and the recent Japanese anthology 36 New York Poets. Her honors include fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Ragdale. She was the founding director of The Poetry Exchange and the New York City Ballet Poetry Project, two poets-in-the-schools organizations.


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