Kitchen Song

Emily Casey



] we live


] the opposite






In the kitchen, the wolves

curl down between us

among the wooden legs of chairs

where the baby crawls

picking table scraps,

starved for something more than my milk—


a crust of moon at the windowsill

a sparrow on the porcelain edge, the faucet’s drip—

the white tails of deer bounding,

the rabbit’s twitch and tender, a spray of grouse

& the baby, scooped up into your arms—


& through the bramble of wild thorns, the garden untended

the old growth and new

through the mess of it all,

this life—

I want to say, I’m sorry I can’t give enough, I’m sorry it will come to an end,

sudden and ugly even if we last, especially if we last, until the body curls inward with age—


all one wants to say

all that hope

a million nights like this one will never be enough

but we don’t know it yet—


Tonight I hear you singing the White Album as you rock the sick baby down and I know you know

I love you, as I know you love me, and we love him—but still, still


In the kitchen the wolves curl down, restless, teeming,

the baby is fisting wet toast, cold egg, dust balls of hair, the doe grazes at your feet—

we live

the opposite


what do you see?

there, through the copse of birch

through the thicket and bramble,

wild thorn, red berry


in the forest

of our love

what do you see that keeps you so close

to joy—like breath

on a winter’s window—

I want to see it too.


Art by Evie Lovett

Emily Arnason Casey is a writer, teacher, and activist, originally from Northern Minnesota. She currently lives in rural Vermont with her family. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a Bachelors in English Literature and Minor in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and earned her M. F. A. at Vermont College of Fine Arts where she studied fiction and creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in The Rumpus, The Briar Cliff Review, Hotel Amerika, The Normal School, American Literary Review, and her essay “Laughing Water” received a notables listing in the Best American Essay series.

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