Doubt 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.  

two poems

by Ben Kline

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