resolution                                                                                                           —Kelli Stevens Kane

dear new year,
the ones I loved best are
gone. if I could only
let them go.
the ones I love best are
here. if I could only
see them.


a car came straight
down this road
as if the road
had no say


which is south
and which is north?

I concede
from this day forth

south is north
and north is south.

words change course
inside my mouth.


I'm talking about the past. The sound
that hurts to remember. Not because of regret,
but because water's so hard when we smack
into it. Sometimes memory sounds
like a bruise, other times like a decision, or
a tree getting frisked by the wind.
Do you remember deciding not to kiss?
We decided to hear ourselves
in the future. Our bodies' language was
acoustic, relentless. The most beautiful room
in the world is so empty it hurts,
the music played in it could pass for food.


heartbroken can you
keep it open practice love
instead of closing

Kelli Stevens Kane

Kelli Stevens Kane is a poet, playwright, and oral historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. She's a Cave Canem Fellow, an August Wilson Center Fellow, and a recipient of Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grants from The Pittsburgh Foundation. She's studied at VONA, Hurston/Wright, and Callaloo. Her recent work is published in North American Review, Little Patuxent Review, Split This RockDelaware Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and African Voices. For more information visit

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