K A Hays

Walking with Zoe, Holding a Bag of Her Warm Shit

—my phone flashes banners, pronouncements:
the coming of sleep! Piss-pickled ice
melts into sidewalk squares. Texts burst through
the grit-laced actual, into my mind’s own warm shit,
centering themselves, enchanted, affirming, whole!
My universe contracts to a glow. Cold.
Zoe tugs the leash, sniffs a snow-mound–gold
with the inside sacred waters of another being.
Rooting her feet to make knowledge, real knowing
of a life: bodies eaten, pigs and pizza, stuffed chairs
in which a rear sat, hair in muck-ice, menstrual blood,
cracked green plastic and the never-decay of a sled,
not clean stories that point toward hope and satisfy
but shard-sharp and infinite, not curations of this but this,
the this in which I’d meant, way back, to live.



K.A. Hays has published three books of poems with Carnegie Mellon University Press and poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Ploughshares, Tin House, and elsewhere. Hays earned an MFA at Brown, and since 2016, has been director of the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets.