Bio: Kara McKeever’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the North American Review, Midwestern Gothic, the Cimarron Review, and Ninth Letter, and she holds an MFA from the University of Missouri–Kansas City. She currently edits economic research and has previously worked as a genealogist, archivist, teacher, and translator. She grew up on an Iowa farm and now lives in Kansas City.
The Seasons Grow Distant as Strangers
That summer, the leaves turned paper-bag brown and street-sign yellow, strewing the sidewalks and our toothpick lawns like trash. We brushed them from our faces as they fell. The sky pressed its breath into our eyes, torrid and tea-stained at the edges. We had pretty much adjusted when one day the air went dove-colored. For hours it rained, as if with sheer force the sky would crack the concrete, plunge us under— restart us from seed.
Monodon monoceros, the Nár-whale
Consider the narwhal: How once we sold their twisted teeth to queens & kings as unicorn horns, insulting our own intelligence. How even now some harvest tusks and others study them, and no one really knows what those ivory icicles are for. * Narwhal, be our scepters and our thrones. Be our makeshift myths. We who believe we can imagine a creature better than what exists. Eclipse and elide us on your spiraled passage. Puncture and part the sea. Close it behind you.
You draw an iris-shaped fissure through the universe. You like it to enfold you, the way clothes in the closet cling as you salmon through them. Each day you sketch the world from scratch, leave it etched with threads of you. You dream in islands and widening pools. Years slip between the cycles of the moon. You are the sunrise-red you cannot see but sense out of a twilight spectrum and you are its eclipse. You are the blue. You know the penchants of your furthest forebears but not the sins of your species. You nibble potted jade and aloe vera, smell the city through a screen, sleep by self-instruction, love the sound of your name, and possess your own verb: purr. Sometimes I blow bubbles for you to clap between your paws: apocalypse. And sometimes I blow them just for myself, to see the world multiplied, inverted, iridescent, float off like planets in my cosmos room and disappear into drops you quickly lick from the floor.