Published: November 21, 2011 [125 copies]
Louis McKee [1951-2011] authored fifteen chapbooks, including Schuylkill County (Wampeter Press, 1982), The True Speed of Things and Safe Water (Slash & Burn Press, 1984 & 1986), Oranges (M.A.F. Press, 1989), Three Poems (Verse Press, 1993), Last Seen (Red Pagoda, 1999), River Architecture (Cynic Press, 1999), Right as Rain (Nova House, 2000), Loose Change (Marsh River, 2001), Near Occasions of Sin (Cynic Press, 2006), and a translation of medieval Irish poems, Marginalia (Adastra Press, 2008). The recipient of two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, he served as editor of Painted Bride Quarterly, One Trick Pony, and, most recently, Banshee Press. A lifelong resident of Philadelphia, he passed away on November 21.
A Story of Flight
Three crows suddenly fly from a tree
by the lake; I’m not at all surprised
to see you running out
ahead of me, your arms flapping wildly
like crow’s wings, your voice shrill
and cold reaching out to theirs.
I half expect you to leave the ground,
to fly after the lovely black spirits
around the lake and settle finally
into the dark pines. Somewhere
on this water, and not too far away,
another man is wondering
what has happened, where it all has gone,
and a swell of cold will move him
to pull at the collar of his coat.
The icy sound of happy crows
will cause him to look up,
but nothing will have prepared him
for the woman, black and loud
as the birds, but more beautiful,
flying in circles around his head.
He will have found what he thinks
might be an answer. I will have
a reason for keeping my head up.
And you, you will get to fly.