Luckily by Kelle Groom


Van K. Brock Florida Poetry Series (2006)

In Kelle Groom's Luckily, tenderness transforms violence: "A kiss on a cigarette burn." In poems both mysterious and candid, Groom captures domesticity and dream, internal and external landscapes, addiction and recovery. Groom is pitch perfect when it comes to emotional nuance. She constructs flawless images about our miraculous, vulnerable bodies. Luckily is a fierce and important book. -- Denise Duhamel

Kelle Groom's exhilarating poems put human intoxicants (like love) close to hand. As they sweep a sometimes painful burden of experience along one unforeseeable line after another, they also offer a crash course in how, when forgetting's not an option, memory takes another deep breath and works like mercy. -- Terri Witek

Kelle Groom has the eye for image, the ear for music, and the finger to turn words into gold nuggets. Underwater City is a phenomenal first collection of poetry, and Luckily takes us to a higher peak. -- Wang Ping




A coat hung in a pine tree outside my bedroom window 
like a seamless tan nightgown

displayed in the 1977 Kansas City exhibition 
of North American Indian Art -- the Algonquin coat or Cree

from the early nineteenth century, pre-reservation,
mooseskin coat with caribou, red and gray pain washed

away, the porcupine quills a woman chewed and softened
in her mouth, sewed on the shoulders, come loose.

I walked into the grass to get a closer look, 
and a man in a blue truck stopped on the quiet dirt,

asked if I had seen a moose. 
He'd found tracks up in the field

where the hunters park their campers.
No, but here is his thin coat, moving and alive,

waving as if on a clothesline, 
waving like so many leaves.


Black Feathers

I saw you fade from doorways, saw you broken loose on a train.
        Carrying brown bags overflowing with food,
I asked how you could have left with no goodbye.
        You were young as when I held the sad Italian girl 
in your window, words from underwater gripping me 
        as if I were slippery. I meant to see you off 
at the airport, but when you let go, we were on a plane 
        lifting off over water, my bags gone, purse, all money. 
When we landed in Paris, my clothes disappeared.
        Leaving the airport, we walked down stone steps 
into the city - you wore a long black coat like the angels, 
        holding your left arm around my body, dressing 
me, right hand below my heart. You said we'd see Rodin's 
        knee, but we stopped at the house of your friends --
the son broke spaghetti into boiling water, the mother crazy 
        and gray, alone on the fenced-in grass, her husband 
just watched. The daughter gave me a sapphire dress, 
        her grandmother's who she loved and missed, 
soft cloth in a tissued box. You somewhere else 
        in the house, but your hands still covered me.
I heard your voice, and said I was afraid of not finding my way 
        back through the streets, the terminal, all that language 
and water. Looking up from the sapphire blur, you were 
        next to me on a train home, arms around my waist, hands 
meeting at my hip, coat sleeves soft, black feathers.

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