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  November 2017
volume 14 number 2
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  Jonathan Beale
  Marjorie R Becker
  Catherine Berry
  Robert Beveridge
  Bill Cunningham
  Jack Harvey
  Robert S King
  Cynthia Linville
  Genie Nakano
  Jared Pearce
  Margarita Serafimova
  Jeanne Marie Spicuzza
  RK Wallace
  Kelley White
  mailing list
Robert S King November 2017



photo by mauricio alejandro ramos

    Robert S. King lives in Athens, GA, where he serves on the board of FutureCycle Press. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight poetry collections, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). His personal website is
Robert S King



The Shadows of Machu Picchu

Perhaps the leavers left secrets behind,
too heavy even for gravity to carry down
the mountain, but only wind and echoes
could tell the story of a city too high,
floating in the thin air of empires.
Walls, temples, and altars could not
sacrifice enough to last nor leave
footprints we might follow to the past.
Only the sense of loss lives here now.
Echoes sound like versions of a truth
told not by blood but by its absence,
not by war but by the state of ruin.

Perhaps the voices of Incan ghosts
still bounce off the walls, still chant
in the high winds, mourning the chaos below,
the clang and clatter of bearded men
riding beasts, seeking gold, shooting fire
and smoke from their long fingers.
Maybe even spirits can taste their own
blood, remember why they bit their tongues
and bowed to white gods who took
centuries to reach the top, found
this lost city but not its gold
except for sunlight making shadows
from these highest walls.

copyright 2017 Robert S King




Nests empty, and days shorten.
Leaves have flown south or fallen,
but my feet are roots in the muddy yard,
hugged by quicksand, and all
the reasons to leave still feel at home
beneath the shower of a leaking roof.

I stay in the safety of local storms,
though rain from another world
passes through. I dare no forward
motion beyond the lean
of my empty mailbox.

Even if this road found a land
of clear springs and a cleared
building lot for my hands,
the splinters of my old home
would be lumber for the new.

copyright 2017 Robert S King