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About this poet

Kent Shaw is the author of Calenture (University of Tampa Press, 2008). He is an assistant professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

My fear is that someone would invent a tool to untether me

I jumped against the sky expecting I would find another sky. A subtlety to sky.
I wanted to get to know the sky better. I wanted to breathe in the air. The sky as a blank space.
Or maybe the opening to a decent conversation.
If you’re using a camera you can pose against the sky and people will think that you’re flying.
Which is very dishonest.
Particularly to the sky.
Have you known a sky? I am trying to make its acquaintance.
The sky I am thinking of is a set piece for honesty.

Look into the night sky. All it is is confused.
The sky is revealing to the people what a sky can really look like.
Not day. Not the sky that’s being suspended over the whole state of Texas.
Just estranged populations.
So many populations running away from the earth.
I don’t know what to do about a sky when it’s like this.

I am more a middle of the day. My favorite meal is lunch.
My favorite tree is whatever it is that is happening in the spring, mainly after a strong rain.
Maybe sometimes when the leaves change.
So long as the place I’m living in is conducive to trees.
Their weights and measurements. Their various relationships with a sky.
Is there a place where birds come from? I think it’s the sky.
A tree absorbs sky. It takes it into its lungs.
How sky is sky? say the trees. And that seems to mean something.

I built a house, and I made sure there was one window.
I nailed a tether to the side of that window. On the outside, I put sky.
I was jumping to the outside so many times I forgot what falling is in a sky.
I am coming for you, Sky!
Do not misinform me or take me into account. I was attached to this house for a reason.
Sometimes I jump, and I am air.
Then I am sky.
I think, “And, now, everything else!” Where everything else is the order of sky.
Air molecules. Air molecules existing. All they can do is keep existing.

Copyright © 2018 Kent Shaw. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2018 Kent Shaw. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Kent Shaw

Kent Shaw is the author of Calenture (University of Tampa Press, 2008). He is an assistant professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.