kris t kahn


i watched a statue, white and seemingly
stiff, flow against the harbor,
come to life as it caressed
the ends of the little girls' pigtails.
it was dreadful at first. the gloved
chalk hands moving out of sync
with what one might
have expected had one
any expectations at all from
something made of mere marble.
around the shoulders, like a shawl,
was a cloth speckled with fifty-odd stars
and a panoply of broken city against
a thought-to-be-impervious skyline,
like those t-shirts and
bumper stickers they sell
on the sticky streets of chinatown
for ten dollars and which
fall apart in the wash after
only a second or third wearing.
unlike the static city and
its incalculable range of diatribes,
her pale hand was alive
as it reached out toward the girls,
toward all of us, reaching even to
our mundane prisons while the sea
spat out its pirate gold. it was admittedly
painful to watch: the care the fingers gave
to each youthful lock, each expectant
and loosened strand, lonely and
furtive in its gestures and motions
because, sadly, it knew no thing of time,
this hand. pigtails are pigtails and
these girls, running along
the sandy planks before
the sun completes its vanishing,
before their parents call them back
to station wagons and
stenciled alphabets,
might as well be wearing corsets
made of whalebone instead of
day-glo tanktops and earrings.
so tell us, white queen, how many
centuries you've spent waiting
by this very harbor, emulating stone;
tell us how many crates of spices you've seen
brought from distant shores while
keeping silent witness, with
only your hand and its longings,
its sometimes sudden jerks and spasms,
giving any of your life to us away.

Date of Birth: July 17, 1979
Location: New Jersey
Publications: The 2River View, Naked Poetry, The Cortland Review, Stirring, etc.
Chapbook: The Gospel According to Thomas
Editor of: Sometimes City

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