Green Hills Literary Lantern





It’s summer. Eighty-five degrees.

We’ve spent all day on a blanket

in the high grass of an abandoned

cemetery. The backs of my thighs

are sunburned and tomorrow I’ll shiver

as the heat pours out of my skin.

Earlier, when I climbed onto you

for the second time, I could see

a row of headstones through the trees.

And when I rocked over you

their round and rain-worn scalps

rose into my line of sight until

I could imagine the bodies beneath them

propped up, watching us make love.

Each one of their wide skulls silently

smiled as if remembering something

sweet and fleeting, and not wanting

to tell me so. I needed to explain to them then

that my body has been a bell

that’s waited years to be rung by you.

That the cartilage grinding in my hip sockets

when I move against you makes a dust

finer than the finest semolina flour

and I pay it out from my body willingly.

That finally coming to love you

has been a hard-earned pleasure,

so that every time you enter me

I want to cry out, Bury me,

bury me. Put me in the ground.


Keetje Kuipers completed her MFA at the University of Oregon.  She has received fellowships from Oregon Literary Arts and the Vermont Studio Center.  She is also the recipient of the 2007 Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency which will provide her with a year of solitude in Oregon's Rogue River Valley.  She will use her time there to complete work on her manuscript, Beautiful in the Mouth, which contains poems currently published or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, West Branch, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Faultline, among others.  You can hear her read her work at the online audio archive The Fishouse (