Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“After Hours, Provincetown Cemetery”

Kendra DeColo’s Thieves in the Afterlife was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Southern Indiana Review, Calyx, Best Indie Lit of New England, and elsewhere. A graduate of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, she is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission, a work-study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and residencies from the Millay Colony and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has taught writing workshops in prisons, middle schools, and homeless shelters.

After Hours, Provincetown Cemetery

Tonight my dead are restless,
     reinventing themselves
          with names like Glissando

and Surreptitious. I want a tree
     to be a tree again, not this trick
          of light, chaos of muscle curved

into the neck of a violin.
     Autumn welds itself
          to the seams of August

and we are saddled by its heat,
     the heart of silence
          smooth as a gun.

You are somewhere
     iridescent and unholy,
          sharp horizon of a man,

traveling circus broken
     into luminous machinery,
           caravan pounding like horses

along the highway. You,
     dog-toothed piano,
          Queen whose glittered

lashes eat up the dark.
     Your words are thumbprints
          on the eyelids of the gods.

Your body is the book
     I break into, hijacked
          of meaning. Your voice,

ejaculation of moonlight,
     your speeding ticket sex, gold-veined
          heart—tonight you are

my only shelter. I inhabit you
     like a squatter, burning my one small light
           in this cemetery of thieves.

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