Poems by Kevin Prufer

Ars Poetica

Air Disaster Over Kansas

Ode to Rome


Ode to Rome

The poem about the fall of Rome
drops stones in my water glass.

There is an ache in the back of my throat.

The poem about Rome has a shell in its beak,
it feeds my ear, is what my ear

asks for. Here is the end

of Rome in a pasta dish. Here, the last of the buildings
on a silver fork, the last

of the street lamps

in the sugar in the well of a coffee cup. When the sun sets

and the poem, on its nest in the dark,

adjusts its bird eyes

my throat contracts. A thousand winters where the grass grew
over the avenues. A litter of statues.

Without cities,

I don't know what to say to myself, I cannot

whisper my ear to sleep.

The ode to Rome

is a whimper of feathers, a scurry of black wings.





From FALLEN FROM A CHARIOT (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2005)