Kara Knickerbocker

For Kevin Hines


I’m six and learning speeds of life. Instant, the way the weight of the gallon jug slipped
from my hands, fast wave of milk like a crescent moon cutting up through the air,
how it burst on impact, sea of white, cold tile floor.


He was the wingless bird, the split-second regret, curling from fingertips that left that safe harbor
of a red railing in September, his body a 75 mph comet hitting concrete ocean,
bridging two celestial bodies. What stars of decision held him in that freefall?


So much of us is left dangling, the receiver on its spiraled cord, swaying in static after my mother gets the call that her mother is dead. This life suspended in the galaxy of a slipping moment,
space where a word should be, heat where a hand once was—

Kara Knickerbocker is the author of the chapbooks The Shedding Before the Swell (dancing girl press, 2018) and Next to Everything that is Breakable (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Her poetry and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from: Poet Lore, HOBART, Levee Magazine, Portland Review, and the anthologies Pennsylvania’s Best Emerging Poets, Crack the Spine, and more. She currently lives in Pennsylvania where she writes with the Madwomen in the Attic at Carlow University, and co-curated the MadFridays Reading Series. Find her online at

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