“A Love Poem to the Reaper” by Christopher Oie Keller

O calloused hands, do not weep
and mourn and gnash teeth
over such things – the net of despair
a precipice ideal to depart from.

Let the wine of the evening wind
warm you, let its dryness flush any
sorrow down, until the clouds return
that fled from your scorched skin.

The leaves and limbs scribble
across your barn, but the timber
stands. So too, you, in the light
of the lake’s reflection, stand.

If the music is a lonely music,
make it lovely; if the sky is lovely,
sing it. Let the sound of a lamp
in the dark drown out the little loss

of your dreams. There was no room
in the field for them, for your boots
did not sink deep enough. When morning
comes, O reaper, weep and be glad

that your twilight is the noon of
the crop, the cream of midday –

Let not the crumbs sit dumb
under your table – they are no
less an omen than a nimbus
blowing shadows into your dream.

O warmth, let your cool body move
to the loss of that shadow.

“So You Think You Can Dance” reject Christopher Oie Keller earned his MAT from Western Oregon University. A former Victoria’s Secret supervisor, he now substitute teaches in Portland. His work has appeared in publications such as The Delinquent, Leveler, and Fogged Clarity and will be appearing in The James Dickey Review and Askew. He also co-manages the poetry forums of DryTear.net, and recently became engaged to Laura, who actually likes the poems he writes about her.