Devin Kelly

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Devin Kelly earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series in New York City. He is the author of the collaborative chapbook with Melissa Smyth, This Cup of Absence (Anchor & Plume) and the books, Blood on Blood (Unknown Press), and In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen (forthcoming 2017, CCM Press). He works as a college advisor in Queens, teaches at the City College of New York, and lives in Harlem.





Someone was fishing in pitch

black on the bridge from the Bronx.

Fog lifting in the mist of rain,

but no caught line sent singing

through the weather. I paused

to look back, wondering. Maybe

a catch I could spy in cold,

fingers blister-dry spent fisting

the rod. Nothing ever gets away.

Nothing ever leaves you. The essays

my students wrote dampened dark

with wetness, sealed themselves

to one another by drying. I carry

too many words around with me,

but nothing still compares to the flash

of scales, the line tightening to life

then letting go to slight before

the catch. I was just a little boy

with a stepdad I just met. I didn’t

know then how many things

I could later compare to love,

or that metaphors exist simply

because life as it looks makes no

sense. You’ve got to jive the knob,

grease the reel, let the slack slacken

in your mind in order to survive.

I wish I knew less. I wish I knew

more. I wish I could read minds.

I wish the man, bridged & ready

when I looked back, held up

a fish, smiling at having done

this simple violent thing, if only for

knowing then a little more about love.

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