Yearly Archive 2021

ByKevin Kuzma

Asking directions

I walked out onto Main leaving a happy hour at this pretentious bistro when a woman pulls up to the sidewalk. “Do you know how to get to Atchison from here?” Her accent was distinctly British and with only a glimpse of her over my shoulder, I already felt a strange enticement. I walked closer. The car was like an old station wagon beat to hell. She was leaning across the passenger seat to the window, smiling. The backseat was filled with a couple luggage bags, but mostly large empty canvases, an easel, and art supplies. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was in a simple t-shirt and shorts. Her skin was deep-tanned, and from the play of the afternoon sun with the shadows inside her vehicle, her green eyes were backlit crystal fires looking up at me. The words in my head said, “Of course, I’ve actually been to Atchison. It’s a long drive from Kansas City. I’m not sure how to tell you to get there so I would need to ride along with you if you want.” But instead I said, “No I’m not sure how to tell you.” By then some other men had come out of the same place and heard us talking. An older man gave her directions and she drove off, slowly, toward the interstate ramp. I put my hands in my pockets and walked the way I was headed.

ByKevin Kuzma

Barren field

Stripped clean from its crop, the field lies flooded and completely bare to torrential rains. The downpour started sometime in the early hours and has continued steadily, all day, drowning the rivulets where the soybeans were harvested when winter came on. This is how January dies and the worst month of all steps in. A sweeping, sodden day that even the melancholy who normally sit by windows and worship overcast skies find a bit too gray and depressing for their liking. Across the field, only the rooftop peaks of a few brand new homes can be seen, like manmade mountain caps in the distance. At least the temperature is bearable. At least I have someplace warm to sleep. My bed, barren, like this field, stripped of a woman. Stripped of love and the warmth of someone who can save me from the deluge.

ByKevin Kuzma

Next morning

It’s the next morning
Still half drunk from two $9 bottles of wine

I left the liquor store with a brown bag supply
about the same time I woke up today
How many failed husbands
waiting at that register
How many scorned wives

The sun has come around again
on us all
I’m lying naked on the electric blanket
set to lukewarm
listening to live applause from a music hall
recorded four years
before I was born

a woman left a painting on my doorstep
with a note attached to the back
But I slept through it
Luckily it didn’t blow away like a leaf
I brought it inside
faced it backward
toward the wall
without looking at the art

My days of racehorse running
feel like they’ve come to an end
Blinds rolled up to the ceiling
keep me safe from the death of the day

Someone will find me here
“Man, alone in his room”
a painting of its own

Words fresh on my lips
tongue still forming the consonants and vowels
My scale won’t matter then
Neither will my wardrobe
My poems
Or the smile I paid for