star block


Star Block
Kay Ryan
There is no such thing
as star block.
We do not think of
locking out the light
of other galaxies.
It is light
so rinsed of impurities
(heat, for instance)
that it excites
no antibodies in us.
Yet people are
curiously soluble
in starlight.
Bathed in its
absence of insistence
their substance
loosens willingly,
their bright
designs dissolve.
Not proximity
but distance
burns us with love.



Kay Ryan
If we could love
the blunt
and not
the point

we would
almost constantly
have what we want.

What is the
blunt of this
I would ask you

our conversation
weeding up
like the Sargasso.

many prefer it


Kay Ryan
The satisfactions
of agreement are
immediate as sugar–
a melting of the
granular, a syrup
that lingers, shared
not singular.
Many prefer it.

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

the catch


The Catch
Kay Ryan
Among nets
some are stout
and cast by
sailors who
venture out
in boats and
talk of knots
and floats and
diesels and
gruesome accidents
to decent people.
Whereas the
nets approached
by birds and moths
and set by
Nabokovs in white
are lighter stuff
tied by threads
to branches
as though for sport.

A bird catches
like a shuttlecock.
In both events
what they get
only partly matches
what they sought
plus the problem
of the innocents.
One can admire
the common sense
it makes for sailors
who desire the
hardest, the most
backbreaking work,
the way you’re tired
and broken to dispatch
by the time it’s time
to justify the catch.

Photo by Frank Zhang on Unsplash



Why We Must Struggle
Kay Ryan
If we have not struggled
as hard as we can
at our strongest
how will we sense
the shape of our losses
or know what sustains
us longest or name
what change costs us
saying how strange
it is that one sector
of the self can step in
for another in trouble
how loss activates
a latent double how
we can feed
as upon nectar
upon need?

Photo by Nicole King on Unsplash