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Four Poems by Avren Keating

Truckload of Paladins

He was given a truckload of paladins.

They hung around like a half-finished novel

asking for his pointed, incoherent opinions.

“Our oldest stories are like our newest,” someone

said before dumping all the men on him—

a needless comparison that he couldn’t

wend his way through.

Stuck with the immortals, unable to keep up,

he wished they’d go full storybook and

metamorphose into a dragon or cat, or a friend

he could actually confide in.

My Queen

She rings with winter like ears after a long day,

raises oranges and kumquats

in her chorus of clouds.

She keeps dregs of dead

leaves suspended in her puddles.

“My queen, my psychopomp, why’d

you assemble this before me?” they ask

while stuck between history and a dark place.

She replies with her copper fingernails down their belly.

They’re tired of the cold and carnal and

they keep repeating, “My queen, my death,

my hunger, my queen, why’d you assemble

this before me?”

In the Bathing Machine

Of course he loved her, much in the way he loved

fields and cows and hot breakfast. And he loved

the chill even more. White lichen wave gnarled

the men all over, maybe daunted his skin

as the sea’s horses broke the beach. He felt

cold arms, almost dead to his touch and she

drowned in the mulled wine of it. Was he in a

grove, was he in the sea? She forgot. Spat out

into the water by an accordioned hut. She frothed

the darkness into his gray. They forgot.

After Saturn Ate His Own Kid

Judge Doom cartoon eyeballs at what he's doing—

as if his body and brain are from different dimensions.

I keep wanting to empathize and there isn't really any need for me to do so.

What an image to keep in your dining room

when father talks to son about what he's done.

Avren Keating

Avren Keating is a poet and an artist. Their recent publications can be found in 580 Split, Bombay Gin, and Dream Pop Press. Avren also hosts Waves Breaking, a trans and gender-variant poetry podcast.

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