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/l. s. mckee

Alva Imagines Heartbreak as an Animal

It steps hard in the mud. Its belly full of the crop you’d saved from septennial plagues, dousing the precious seeds you’d seen to adolescence or middle-age essence and brought back from the brink with walls of petrochemicals—various pesticides, medicines, fertilizers scribed on the label —or that you saved with a swinging broom, or your prayers, or your sweat, or your sometimes luck holding when the cloud of disaster dove close. When the storms were over, it drank long from the pools at your feet, let you stroke its soft ear, its drenched fur a mirror, a painting, an Impressionist’s accident of light. It nuzzled your hand. It lumbered through the collapsing fence you’d always meant to mend.

L. S. McKee‘s poems have appeared in Best New Poets, The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, Michigan Quarterly Review, Narrative, Oversound, B O D Y, and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford and currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches writing across STEM disciplines at MIT. Read more about her work here:

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