» Poetry

Two Poems

Witness Statement

And, behold, in the year
of unencumbered plague


those who trafficked in wickedness
did so on palatial golf courses.


An orphan cried for succor
and received spit.


Nothing of this was new
or profound, only more naked.


And, lo, I fed my son a breakfast
bar on a dying planet.


And on a dying planet
the wicked watered


my son’s playground with poisons.
They hallowed his oceans with lead.


Tell me what should I have done
but bathe bread in peanut butter


mince Flintstones in a cup of cola.
And, lo, the wicked thought only


of my boy as a horsetail dreams
of flies. His chest rose and fell


as we both tacked the garbage
truck rumbling its track.


In this was no sin.
In this was only another


form of hunger: the truckness
of the truck begetting wonder


begetting want. Oh, felt my boy
with every rattling atom.


And the wicked kenneled
a brown boy so like my son.


I said, I am sickened.
I said, I will maim you


with my claws before you
take their boy, my boy whose laugh


turns this truck ripe with refuse
to some radiant blessing.


Anubis at the DMV

Let me be blunt:

            fate is no whim.


It is the voice of

            a thousand bureaucrats intoning

                        now serving 554.


If diligence is a knife

            you are our bread.


if service is a repeating decimal

            a herd of digits flashed to life

                        you’re dead last.


                        The sarcophagal cero.


Each attendant is a monolith

                        in a desert you wander

                                    an hour, a lifetime.


Who can know?

            The intervals grow



Think of a cat

            toying mindlessly with a string

                        an entire day




Past the grave

            vice or virtue is simply

                        the dust we brush off.


Let it accumulate.

            Let the carpet fiber

                        crack beneath your feet


Now you want to know

            how much longer

                        a day, a year, a league.


Like all dictators

            I simply push the beads

                        across, then back.


Who am I

            to enumerate

                        your wait time?


Who to tell you

            how to spend your death?



Kyle McCord

Kyle McCord is the author of seven books including National Poetry Series Finalist, Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders (Trio House Press 2016). He serves as Executive Editor of Gold Wake Press and is married to the visual artist Lydia McCord.