Sarah Mackey Kirby


The night air stings near the river,
moving water against stone.
Otherwise, stillness. God-relinquished
fragments of a pulling kind of lonely.

When quiet reveals its steadiness,
no dynamic force; just the chill of
patchwork thoughts in midnight-cold
Kentucky. I got to love you for a while.

Tree limbs crack from weighty ice, and dust
reveals itself in the lamplight gold of a
windowsill. The barred owls wait in trees.
And in my dreams, I reach for ghosts.


Give me Orion in February.
Snow-capped boots traipsing
a covered path, burrowed between lines
of oak and Virginia pine. Enough light
to see the peacefulness, to see my breath
steaming the evening chill.

Take me to a blue spruce morning. An old
wood stove and knotty floor boards.
A tea-kettle whistle and winter-feathered
robins eating berries on the holly.

Wrap me in memories of her.
The two of us still young
beneath an appliqué quilt,
all snuggled up in turquoise.
A view of sassafras trees long past
leaf-orange. Peppermint tea
to transport me to a place
where sisters still could be.

Bio: Sarah Mackey Kirby grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Taste of Your Music (Impspired, 2021). Her poems appear in Chiron Review, Hobo Camp Review, Ploughshares, Third Wednesday Magazine, and elsewhere. She and her husband split their time between Kentucky and Ohio.

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