All morning we had been discussing death.

I checked the field guide to know
that it was the Spicebush Swallowtail that landed
in my hair and not the Mourning Cloak.
Maybe I'm superstitious,

but it was the same day I learned about families
in Ireland, their unique sweaters patterned to identify
sons and husbands -- each unique stitch -- in case
they drowned, a map of where to send the body. 

We passed a garden of calla lilies.

The Mourning Cloak rested, wings
the color of storms,  yellow lining the edges
of waves, blue crescent moons
sailing to the rim,

and I wondered if this is what the fishermen saw,

the ones who were pulled under -- ocean
moving forward, slice of moon in the East,
bubbles of breath pulling upward
where sun should have been.

Kelli Russell Agodon



after the lithograph by Marc Chagall

While I am two parts: hands
and veil, you are mostly suit. 
Somehow, there is enough sage
between us, sticks of lavender, stems
of this canoe. Forget that I am drawn
out of troubles, that love

anchors itself to certain beds.  I am praying
for a paler sun, a simple wedding
band without stars, longer arms to pull you

The moon holds us in its boat
again and again; I will forgive,
you will apologize and night
won't seem as bad as when we both sleep
in our own half-rooms, half-lives,
our half-joys illuminating only part of the sky.

Kelli Russell Agodon
KELLI RUSSELL AGODON's poems have recently appeared or will soon be appearing in the Rattapallax, Parnassus, Seattle Review, River Oak Review, Calyx, Crab Creek Review, DMQ Quarterly, Can We Have Our Ball Back and other publications. Currently, she is the Poetry Editor for the online literary journal Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism and a Regional Coordinator for the United Poetry Coalition, formerly Poets for Peace.  She is a Washington State Arts Commission/Artist Trust GAP recipient from her manuscript "Beginning to Speak."  She lives in a small seaside community a ferry ride away from Seattle and works part-time for a software company.  You can read more of Kelli's work at her website.