Olivia J. Kiers

My father’s arm was a runway to the sky,
steady beyond the branching dark. It was 1997

and my loose tooth clicked like a camera shutter
as I followed his pointing hand from star to star,

to the blur he called a comet. To me, its name
was like hail popping on a windshield, or hard candy

and suddenly the taste of blood swelled—
dirty ice-tail, falling tooth. Awe and ahh

are twinned on my tongue, tumbling the same
in every replay—father, trees, shutter click.

Obsession, you have bent me to the sky,
given me a face as taut as Orion’s bow.

I am left counting teeth with my tongue,
calculating orbits, holding my breath.

Raised in rural Virginia, Olivia J. Kiers is a poet and museum professional now based in central Massachusetts. Her poetry was recently published in Plainsongs, Thin Air Online, Twin Pies Literary, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and The Westchester Review. She can be found on her website, oliviajkiers.com, and on Instagram at @oliviakiers.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021