poem index


Keith Ratzlaff

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Keith Ratzlaff

Keith Ratzlaff is the author of four books of poetry: Then, a Thousand Crows (Anhinga Press, 2009); Dubious Angels: Poems after Paul Klee (Anhinga Press, 2005); Across the Known World (Loess Hills Press, 1997); and Man Under a Pear Tree (Anhinga Press, 1996), winner of the 1996 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. He’s a professor of English at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

by this poet


In one version a drunken angel shapes us from river mud.
In another the tou-tou bird sings daylight into being.
In another we fall backward from the sky into the earth’s net.
The other day goldenrod.
The other day red on the tests; her cancer like sumac, back
             again, inching


I’m walking through goldenrod
in new shoes, shoes I got for a song—
like the one I’m singing now
that pleases the cicadas, the one
that would make Schubert cry.
And I love the way the ash
is the first tree always
to turn, throw its hands
in the air and say shoot me


     after Paul Klee

There are not enough shoes
in heaven
no matter what the song says—

which means feet will be
rationed soon
because God says so.

It was the curse of Midas
to know
what happened next,

however limited
however gold.
It was the