Clyde Kessler

Dragon’s Remnant Creature

Darkness forces its wings
to carry starlight home
the same way ancient dragons
heaped their gold beyond us.

Or the same way sparrows now
twist their nests among the shrubs
as if cloaked far beyond heaven,
or as if thawing from a winter cave
where there are no more dragons.

I have danced poorly for its shadow,
its wings, its mind. I have pretended
its face is an owl’s face voicing silence,
a greater silence than anything else
that a poem can carry home with words.

Message From an Old Farmer

Starlight can’t shake the grapes
from a hungry mouse’s dreams.
You can press the whole sky
against its nerves, and the hunger
still wrestles through like one ghost
burning everything, jumping graves,
walls, rusty plows, or a rotting barn.
The mouse always lives inside there,
and it never forgets the slanting vines
offering Concords or Scuppernongs,
whatever the angels bring for feasts.

Summering With Pelicans

Pelicans are sunning at Murrells Inlet
a crowd of them, squatters, senators
salted, sanded, muddied, all-glancing
at the dreams of their wings tucked in
before they surf the air above the waves.

Soon enough blurred, overheated hungers
squeeze the shore. Name them Ogden,
Pearl, Trudy, Holden, Gabe, Salina, etc.
They are much older than names. They
can razz each other again without a sound,
without muscling loose from their shadows.
They keep sunning, and don’t need words.


Clyde Kessler lives in Radford, Virginia with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. Several years ago, they added an art studio to their home and named it Towhee Hill. In 2017, Cedar Creek published his book of poems Fiddling At Midnight’s Farmhouse, which Kendall illustrated.

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