Issue > Poetry
Ryan Vine

Ryan Vine

Ryan Vine's work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Writer's Almanac and elsewhere. Among his honors are a Weldon Kees Award from the Backwaters Press, The Greensboro Review's Robert Watson Poetry Prize and a Pushcart prize nomination. Author of the chapbook Distant Engines (Backwaters Press, 2006), Ryan is assistant professor of English and the Rose Warner Professor at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN.

Rule 22

you missed your chance again
you weren't paying attention

friend worrying of what
could be when

one of the lords of life appeared
stretched across a sunny patch

of the Lake Superior Hiking Trail
right beneath your feet

and you friend you
stepped on its head

even though it was a half step
the soft pressure and a popping

snapped you back
it was still too late

for this little artery
of sunlight this silly

little grin on the ground
it twisted itself and wrinkled

and shook and wrestled itself
into ouroborous

which is not infinity
but a constant repetition

like you friend always you away
even now thinking about poetry

about symbolism and myth
while this tiny yellow fellow

dies muddy and twitching
at your feet

there must be somewhere
where no one's watching

but you didn't wait to see
you just kept on

walking down the trail
and stepped into a boggy acre

the forest must have imagined
where you may or may not still be

Rule 42

you piece of shit
you dumb fuck

nearly every day an older man
followed by a younger woman

walk together past my house
always in the same direction

he's hunched and shuffles
a little with a black hood

over his head and she's
smoking in sweat pants

a few steps behind him
in hats pulled low

she talks to his back
like this

you dumbass
you shitbrick

but I don't know friend
who sets the slow pace

it's hard to tell
as it is with all lovers

if they are lovers
but she speaks the language

of their love
to her beloved's hidden face

you dipshit
you fuckhead

while he stares at the road
a dead end at an empty lot

where though unresting castles
and long grass repossessing its place

chickadees lovingly flit
shooting their little lazers


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