Three poems by Kevin Roy


I draw a tattoo

of a vast octopus

from Minoa on my flank,

the sheltering arms,

the eyes on eyes on eyes.

Heat the waters

until they roil in salt.

Give me a mask

and an oilcloth cape

as I spiral the plaza.

I’m a go-between

up from the seas,

amphibian, an augur

who loses recall

of performance and rites.

Stick me on street corners

to whisper to cars.

Let me plant

a chew tab on the lips

of the cloistered family

that cures on the balcony.

They wait for a chorus

below in the alleys,

physicians and gypsies

long about their coming.

The Keel Seam

I build the kayak

in the frozen garage of night,

where space heaters warm

the vegetable age of my hands.