Kathleen Winter

The Seer

                              The chastening face of genius will bite you rather
          than see you do something foolish.
                    Short declarative sentences or swerving intestinal
     peregrinations, the message still delivered
          with contempt. As though the seer never had to stay home
                                                  with the sitter, was never forced
                              to start over from scratch.
          At the gameboard the seer rides a tidal urge to slaughter,
     desire towering as strategy comes clear.
between their gums like a cumulus of caramel candy popcorn
                                                  you’re powdered granular, pathetic
                                                  victim of a banal sin.
     At Teotihuacán the theocrats made ornate necklaces
                                        of ersatz teeth to hang across the bare chests
                    of their sacrificial human animals. Almost garlands,
          collars featuring whole jawbones full of
carved stone molars, canines, bicuspids of freshwater shell.
                                                  Eight jawbone arcs of jeweled faux teeth
                              strung on gut cords
                                        around each victim’s neck, across his chest,
                    a brazen gambit
                    to inflate the sacrificial tally.
     The seer discretely conceives the feathered serpent
                                                                      as a useful fiction
                                        yet what could be better than slavery
for raising the foundation of a pyramid. Meet the seer
               under a full moon at the jaguar pedestal, where the entrance
                    to the National Museum in fifteen centuries will be,
and they’ll auger a last handful
                              of your fatal mistakes; for starters, how you were
                    so stupid about water                    or how you suspended disbelief
          even after you knew
                                        exactly why the priests grew fat.



The Storm Replays What Appalling Day / What Appalling Day The Storm Replays

          Bring down the angle of the rain
                                                            bring the rain down at an angle
                                                  so I can see it in the afternoon
at the Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi, whereever
                                                                      the hell that is, scribbled in my spiral
          notebook over Tom’s eco reading tips and coffee
                                        stain that stretches up like a man’s supplicating arm,
                              his face in profile
                              open lips giving an effect
of effort
                                        in the instant after speech
                                                                      in the speech after an instant—
          what did he just ask for?

                                                  Any indelible has gravitas
                                        like an expressed gene
                                                                                or the design flaw in a sportscar.
                                        You never really get it, negligence,
                              till someone’s lying dead.

                                                  The body wears a pink bra,
                                                            dark pink
                                                                      almost red, a color never meant
                                        for wearing in the afternoon, on pavement.

                                        Bring down the angle of the rain
     so it gets between the lids
     so it gets all over evidence                    our faces.

                                                            I (never) told her brother how sorry I was—
                                        how sorry I was I never told her,



Kathleen Winter is the author of I will not kick my friends (2018), winner of the Elixir Poetry Prize, and Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, winner of the 2013 Texas Institute of Letters Bob Bush Memorial Award. Her poems are forthcoming in New Republic, New American Writing, Crannóg Magazine, Blackbird, Broadsided and Waxwing. She was granted fellowships by Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Brown Foundation at Dora Maar House, James Merrill House, Cill Rialaig Project, and Vermont Studio Center. Her awards include the Rochelle Ratner Memorial Prize, Ralph Johnston Fellowship at the University of Texas's Dobie Paisano Ranch, and Poetry Society of America The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award. Winter reads for 32 Poems and teaches at Sonoma State.