Keep Out

The sidewalk wears a sunset
of rot. Brittle wrought iron,
sloughing oxidation and peeling
paint hems lapping seams.
The reservoir is crimped
secure. Signs warn us
not to trespass, water only
wet for our eyes. Wary
fingertips page parched foxtail
split ends, how many bodies
one handful can rip, barbs drawn
down into useless blades,
hay and seeds crush unsaid
into roughage. Silence inflates
lungs with sticky humidity. Doves flee
our sleeves, slipping through
the barricade, their last
great trick, drowning
in water that isn’t ours. Still,
ducks splash down, perfect
skipped stones, while we
examine our hands close,
to check for blood and rust.


Andrea Krause (she/her) lives in Portland, Oregon. She introverts inconspicuously on Twitter at @PNWPoetryFog. In the summer, you can find her resting in a hammock between giants.