Katie Mullins

The King of Rust
by Katie Darby Mullins

I am the king of the rust
and the blanket-curtains
heavy against cracked glass.
I rule the wind, shuffling
mail like cards, spilling
out of unchecked mailboxes

like trash. I let birds float
away from the beer can
windchime. I am the king
of the park across the street,
kids hitting kids, throwing
stones. I watch from stairs

carved in a hill as my subject,
a woman behind the broken window,
fastens the curtains more closed.
Though I know the truth, I pretend
she is a photographer, too much sun
exposing negatives.

I command that the world
stop around me: that the air
hang static, let whirligigs freeze
mid-flight. I order the ants
out of my shoe, the crickets
into silence. But my kingdom

buzzes into a disobedient frenzy:
light flashes against the curtain,
rust on the window pane is matte.
But I am the king. I remember
when the iron was new and strong
and the woman was happy.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 4.

katie-mullinsKatie Darby Mullins is currently finishing her MFA at Spalding University and teaching at the University of Evansville.┬áIn addition to editing a recent rock ‘n roll crossover edition of the metrical poetry journal Measure, she’s also an editor at The Louisville Review and the lead writer and founder of the music blog Katie Darby Recommends.

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