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
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.
See all items about Katie Darby Mullins