two poems

by Ben Kline


Gold beryllium hexagons sparkle
with dead starlight in mirrored chambers
pumping data down from parsecs
ago. With one open eye, I wait
for each filtered image as if
scrolling God’s Instagram. I wait
as the snaking creeks under my eyes
flood with gin laughter, as brittle crows
linger at the banks, tightening
their grip. After my father refused
to consider a regiment of windmills
hidden from yard or road, to install
this low-frequency radio telescope,
to attempt a third round of chemo,
time stopped. Winter ended
without us mapping the crops.
I didn’t decide on wheat or corn
for the floodplain, and it didn’t flood
that spring, or the next. I could
have insisted less, listened more. Instead
I harvested most of the timber, experimented
with barley, bragged about right-of-way
revenues. My remaining cousins
still thank me for the two new towers
boosting their signals. We laugh
about the barley. Between blinks,
I watch the stars reveal nothing
about these decades since, their light
hurling forward, but also, slowing.


Spell for Which I Had No Use

No act is selfless. Not love. Not rain nor sunrise.
Not even a butterfly bending a tulip’s cerulean
ledge after gracefully inspecting my grandmother’s
row of white rose bushes, her brown terrier
watching as if he understood. Certainly not my
father drawing minimalist maps and squiggly
diagrams in his spiral pocket memo pad with one of
his leaky black pens, his foot up on the hinged oak
gate that kept the swollen Herefords in the lot,
teaching my older male cousins how one pink curls
into another, darker pink that was not the turgid
pink I used to think about the most.

Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, writing poems and telling stories, drinking more coffee than might seem wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Graviton, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Risk Magazine, petrichor, Riggwelter, Grist Online, Trailer Park Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Toe Good and many more. You can read more at

Artwork by: Alex Stolis

Alex lives in Minneapolis.